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ero con mas fccsseo 
que su mano 
TR, los emienoz 

pcrficcionc en toDo, 

autem CcsCteco, ut 
Libri eub manibuD [tuis] 
at> ultimam ct omnimo5am 
pcrfcctioncm clcvcntur. 

hope is that 
the books in youv h 
will reach their highest 
anD fullest perfection, 

Juan de S.Xhomas 

3 !ul? 1635 




Interpretive Arrangement by 


in consultation with 


from the 1930 Reiser edition (emended second impression) 

of the AYS Logica, 

itself comprising the first two parts of the five part 

Cursus Philosophicus of 1631-1635, 

by the same author. 

First Published at 


(Complutum), Iberia, 






University of California Press 
Berkeley and Los Angeles, California 

University of California Press, Ltd. 
London, England 

Copyright 1985 by John N. Deely 
Manufactured in the United States of America 

Cataloging in Publication Data for Libraries 

Poinsot, John ("Joannes a Sancto Thoma"), 1589-1644. 

Tractatus de Signis. 
Bilingual edition of early, 

perhaps earliest, fully systematized treatise in semiotic, 

originally published at Alcala de Henares (Complutum), Iberia, 1632, 

as part of the Ars Logica of the same author, 

itself comprising the first two parts 

of the five-part Cursus Philosophicus of 1631-1635. 

Bibliography: p. 587. 

Including five indices. 

1. Semiotics. 2. Logic early works before 1800. 

3. Signs and symbols. 

I. Deely, John N. II. Powell, Ralph Austin. III. Title. 

BC60.J5724 1985 160 82-17658 

ISBN 0-520-04252-2 



In the spring of 1970 this work was undertaken because of, and later sus- 
tained by, the vision of Thomas A. Sebeok. 

Yet the work would not have reached its fulfillment without the learned 
assistance and patient counsel of Ralph Austin Powell, a graduate of Poinsot's 
own alma mater and his brother in religious life. His subtle mastery of philosophical 
traditions the Greek, the Latin, the German, and the French was an improbable 
resource made priceless by being put at my disposal throughout the project. 

Translation finally of the inscrutable Latin of Poinsot's "Word to the Reader" 
of 1631 and 1640 was owing to J. Kenneth Downing. Archaic usage was much 
reduced through detailed suggestions of Bert Mahoney. Editorial assistance in 
point of organization came from Heinz Schmitz, and in point of grammar from 
Brooke Williams, who also mastered Spanish Round Gothic script for the fron- 
tispiece. The task of getting the notes on the text into presentable typescript was 
executed with admirable fidelity and steadiness by Claire Levy, as were many 
related tasks performed by my student Felicia Kruse. Carl Lenhart contributed 
help with proofreading. 

The aim for the Treatise text proper was to produce matching linguistic col- 
umns, beginning and ending within the same line of text on every page. The ex- 
tent to which this goal has been realized is due to the involvement and consum- 
mate skill in typesetting of Bud MacFarlane, Production Manager of Composition 

Jack Miles of the University of California Press pursued contractual arrange- 
ments for this work with understanding, vision, and respect for detail. Chet Grycz 
of the same press stands out in the work's actual production by his distinct com- 
mitment to its being realized in the integrity of its design. His was not the first 
press to try to see how this might be possible, a fact which provides the reader 
an intimation of the exceptional talent Mr. Grycz brings to bear on his work. 

A subsidy for publishing in bi-lingual format was provided from three sources, 
the American Midwest Province of Saint Albert the Great, the DeRance Publica- 
tion Fund of the ACPA in response to a proposal initiated under the presidency 
of Desmond FitzGerald, and Mr. Jerome Powell. Free time along with typing and 
copying facilities for an initial draft of this work was provided by Mortimer J. Adler. 

This work is dedicated to the memory of J. Eris Powell (1875-1949), whose 
concept of Public Life in the end made this work possible, and to the memory 
of his wife, Mary Conroy Powell (1888-1960). It is dedicated also to the memory 
of a monk of the abbey of Solesmes, with the hope that his work will be somehow 
continued Dom Boissard, who produced the magnificent five volumes of the 
Solesmes edition of Poinsot's theological Cursus according to standards the pres- 
ent little work has sought to realize in its own order. His death in December of 
1979 robbed humane culture for the second time (the first was Pere Combefis' 
death in 1679) of a completed edition worthy of its proper merits. 


Acknowledgments and Dedication v 

Abbreviations x 

To the Reader of This Edition 1 


Exhibiting the Rationale of the Entire Work 

and the Manner of Its Derivation 

To the Reader of 1631 4 

First Semiotic Marker 7 


First Prologue: On the Style of the Work 10 

Second Prologue: On the Division of the Logical Art, Its Order and Necessity . .14 
Second Semiotic Marker . . 18 

THE SUMMULAE TEXTS (Ars Logica, Part I): Preliminary Chapters on the Doctrine of Signs 

Chapter I, The Definition of "Term" 22 

Chapter II, The Definition and Division of Signs 25 

Chapter III, Some Divisions of Terms 28 

Third Semiotic Marker 30 

To the Reader of 1640 (Ars Logica, Part II) , .34 

Fourth Semiotic Marker 36 

"PERIHERMENIAS": the Relation of the Treatise on Signs to the Aristotelian Tradition, 

Its Philosophical Justification, and Its Presuppositions within the Ars Logica 38 

Fifth Semiotic Marker 40 


in Two Preambles and Three Books, with Appendices 


Order of the Preamble 44 

Final Semiotic Marker 46 

Article 1. What in General a Mind-Dependent Being Is, and How Many Kinds of 

Mind-Dependent Being There Are 48 

Article 2. What Is the Second Intention and Logical Mind-Dependent Relation, 

and How Many Are There? 58 

Article 3. By What Powers and through Which Acts Do Mind-Dependent Beings 

Come About? 65 



Article 1. Whether There Exist on the Side of Mind-Dependent Being Intrinsic 

Forms Which Are Relations 80 

Article 2. What Is Required for a "Categorial" Relation 88 

Article 3. What Are the Divisions of Categorial Relation and What Are Its 

Essential Types? 100 


Question 1. Whether a Sign Is in the Order of Relation 116 

Question 2. Whether the Sign-Relation in the Case of Natural Signs Is Mind-Independent 

or Mind-Dependent 135 

Question 3. Whether the Relation of Sign to Signified Is the Same as the Relation of 

Sign to Cognitive Power 153 

Question 4. In What Way Are Objects Divided into Stimulus Objects 

and Terminative Objects? 166 

Question 5. Whether to Signify, Formally Considered, Is to Cause Something in the 

Order of Productive Causality 193 

Question 6. Whether the True Rationale of Sign Is Present in the Behavior 

of Brute Animals and in the Operation of the External Senses .... 204 

Sequel 216 


Transition to Book II (from the 1638 Cologne Edition) 222 

Question 1. Whether the Division of Signs into Formal and Instrumental 

Is Univocal and Sound 223 

Question 2. Whether a Concept Is a Formal Sign . . . 240 

Question 3. Whether an Impressed Specification Is a Formal Sign 254 

Question 4. Whether an Act of Cognizing Is a Formal Sign 262 

Question 5. Whether the Division of Signs into Natural, Stipulated, and Customary 

Is a Sound Division 269 

Question 6. Whether a Sign Arising from Custom Is Truly a Sign 278 


Transition to Book III 286 

Question 1. Whether Intuitive and Abstractive Awareness Differ Essentially in the 

Rationale of Cognition 287 

Question 2. Whether There Can Be an Intuitive Cognition, either in the Understanding 

or in Exterior Sense, of a Thing Physically Absent 304 

Question 3. How Do Reflexive Concepts Differ from Direct Concepts? 324 

Question 4. What Sort of Distinction Is There between an Ultimate (or "Final") 

Concept and a Nonultimate (or "Preliminary") Concept? 334 


APPENDIX A, On the Signification of Language: 



I. Synthetic Index 353 

II. Synoptic Table (fold-out) 371 



Contents .393 

INDICES to the Treatise text: 

Index Abbreviations s . 516 

1. Index Aristotelicus: Passages from Aristotle 

A. Opera (Works Cited) 517 

B. Loci (Specific Citations) f , r . 517 

2. Index Thomisticus: Passages from St. Thomas 

A. Opera (Works Cited) 518 

B. Loci (Specific Citations) 519 

3. Index Personarum: Other Authors 522 

4. Index Rerum Alphabeticus: Index of Terms and Propositions 

A. Alphabetized List of Latin Base Terms . 525 

B. The Index Proper 527 


REFERENCES with Some Annotations 587 


The Third Branch may be called Er||iicoTiKf|, or the Doctrine of Signs; 
the most usual whereof being Words, it is aptly enough termed also AoyiKfj, 
Logick; the business whereof, is to consider the Nature of Signs, the Mind 
makes use of for the understanding of Things, or conveying its Knowledge 
to others. 

And, perhaps, if they were distinctly weighed, and duly considered, 
they would afford us another sort of Logick and Critick, than what we have 
been hitherto acquainted with. 

John Locke, 

"Of the Division of the Sciences 
[beyond the Speculative and the Practical]/' 




Aristotle is cited according to the page, column (a, b), and line of the Berlin 
edition (following Reiser 1930, XVII-XVIII: see Index Aristotelicus, p. 517 

Le = the Roman Leonine Edition of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, 1882 ssq. 
(following Reiser, loc. cit.: see Index Thomisticus, p. 518 below). 

Pa = the Parma edition of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, 1852-1873 (follow- 
ing Reiser, loc. cit.: see Index Thomisticus, p. 518 below). 

P.L. = Patrologiae Cursus Completus, ed. J.-P. Migne, Series Latina, Vols. 1-162, 
Paris: 1878-1889. 

Poinsot is cross-referenced according to the Parts of the original publication of 
the Cursus Philosophicus, specifically: Artis Logicae Prima Pars = Logica 
1. p. = 1631, Artis Logicae Secunda Pars = Logica 2. p. = 1632, Naturalis 
Philosophiae Prima Pars = Phil. nat. 1. p. = 1633, Naturalis Philosophiae Ter- 
tia Pars = Phil. nat. 3. p. = 1634, Naturalis Philosophiae Quarta Pars = Phil, 
nat. 4. p. = 1635), followed by the Question (q.), Article (art.), and, where 
necessary, also by specific volume (I, II, III), page, column (a, b), and line 
references to Reiser's edition of the whole (Turin: Marietti, 1930-1937). The 
Naturalis Philosophiae Secunda Pars, on astronomy, was suppressed in the 
year of scheduled publication (1634, the year of Galileo's condemnation 
in Rome) by Poinsot himself, and there is no extant text of this Part known 
at the present time: see discussion in the "Editorial Afterword" following 
the text of the Treatise. 

Reiser's own footnotes from his edition of the Cursus are incorporated into this 
edition of the Treatise on Signs, those referring to the works of Aristotle, 
St. Thomas, or any other author with punctuation, spacing, and capitaliza- 
tion unchanged. 


The semiotic of John Poinsot here presented autonomously for the first 
time was disengaged from a larger work entitled the Ars Logica, itself but the 
first two parts of a five-part Cursus Philosophicus. Since this work has a con- 
siderable historical interest in its own right, and in order to minimize the 
violence of editing the tractatus de signis into a whole independent of that 
original context, we have settled on the following manner of presentation. 

Putting ourselves in the position of a reader coming to the Ars Logica for 
the first time and interested only in Poinsot's discussion of signs, we asked 
ourselves: What sections of the work would this hypothetical reader have to 
look at in order to appreciate that discussion both in its own terms and in 
terms of the whole of which it originally formed a part? To what extent are 
these separable philosophically? 

The pages that follow make up our solution to this problem. We have left 
Poinsot's text stand virtually entirely according to the order he proposed for 
it within the Ars Logica as a whole. To make this order clear, we have included 
title pages, and all general statements Poinsot set down concerning the whole 
(and therefore the Treatise as part), inserting where appropriate and to bridge 
necessary jumps a series of brief comments designated "semiotic markers," 
designed to show the reader how the rationale of all 'editing is derived from 
the original author's own intentions; and second, we have included all and 
only those sections of the whole which have a direct bearing on under- 
standing the doctrine proposed in the Treatise on Signs proper, as the semiotic 
markers make clear. 

In other words, we have tried to provide the reader with a guided tour 
of the Ars Logica that leads directly to an understanding of the doctrine of 
signs contained in that work, but does so by enabling him or her to appreciate 
the historical origin of the account in the context of its author's own under- 
standing of previous logical and philosophical traditions. We have chosen this 
format as the one best suited, so far as we could judge, to exhibit the unique 
mediating status Poinsot's Treatise occupies "archeologically," as it were, in 
the Western tradition between the ontological concerns of ancient, medieval, 
and renaissance philosophy, and the epistemological concerns of modern and 
contemporary thought. 

At the end of the work, the reader will find a lengthy "Editorial After- 
word" explaining the entire work and giving its background and prospectus, 
much the sort of materials commonly given in an Introduction to a translated 


work. The device of the semiotic markers made it possible in this case to 
bypass the need for lengthy introductory materials enabling the reader to 
grasp the editorial structure of the whole, yet without of course obviating the 
need for detailed discussions somewhere of the principles of the English text, 
and of the historical situation of the author and his work. Thus we have been 
able to enter simply and directly into the doctrinal content of the main text, 
without cluttering its entrance with more than a very few lines of contem- 
porary origin. 

The reader will also find at the end of the work a complete series of indices 
to this entire edition, both to its main text (which indices are explained at 
length in the "Afterword" just mentioned) and to its accompanying editorial 
materials, followed by a comprehensive list of bibliographical references. 
Bibliographical references not complete in the markers or in the notes on the 
text will be found there. All indexical references to the Treatise itself with its 
attendant parts (i.e., to the bi-lingual portions of this edition) are by page and 
line numbers, thus providing the reader with the exact place of each reference 
in this English edition of Poinsot's text and, at the same time, the almost exact 
place in the parallel column of the Latin original. Similarly, all cross- 
references to other parts of Poinsot's Cursus Philosophicus, as in the running 
heads of the present edition, are according to the pages, columns (a, b), and 
lines of the Reiser edition, as set out in the "Abbreviations" immediately 
preceding this preface. 

From the 

First and Second Parts 
of the 


The Excerpts Which Exhibit 
the Rationale 

of the 
Treatise on Signs 

and the 
Manner of Its Derivation 




Brevitatem sectantes otiosum videbitur rnorosa praefatione diffundi, vel 
ipsa Spiritus Sancti sententia id praedamnante: Stultum est ante historiam 
diffluere, in ipsa vero historia succingi 2 . Ne ergo taedium et onus lectori in 
ipso limine iniciamus, tantum admonuerim studii nostri scopum eo collimasse, 
ut ad brevem et concisam methodum pro viribus Logicae et Philosophiae 
disciplinam iuxta S. Thornae sensum redigeremus. Idcirco non solum visum 
est eius solidam sequi et imitari doctrinam, sed ordinem, brevitatem modestiam- 
que aemulari. 

Ut methodum ordinemque sequeremur, in operis fronte Logicam in duas 
partes dividimus. Prima dialecticas disputationes, quas Summulas vocant, com- 
plectitur et circa formam logicalem versatur. Secunda, circa praedicabilia et 
praedicamenta ac libros Posteriorum, tractat de instrumentis logicalibus ex parte 
materiae et posterioristicae resolutionis, ut abundantius in initio huius libri 

Ut brevitatem imitaremur, immensam inextricabilium quaestionum silvam 
et spinosa sophismatum dumeta excidere curavimus, quae audientium men- 
tibus onerosae et pungentes utilitatis nihil, dispendii non parum afferebant. 
Ad haec metaphysicas difficultates pluresque alias ex libris de Anima, quae 
disputantium ardore in ipsa Summularum cunabula irruperant, suo loco aman- 
davimus et tractatum de signis et notitiis 3 in Logica super librum Perihermenias 
expedimus. Quidquid autem in tractatu de termino et aliis locis ad Logicam 
remittimus, ibidem etiam loca adnotamus. Nee tamen omnino evadere potui- 
mus, quin aliqua libaremus ex praecipuis magisque necessariis difficultatibus, 
quae et docentibus et discentibus ad logicales quaestiones explicandas con- 
ducebant. Curabit autem lector, ut viso aliquo textus capitulo difficultates illi 
correspondentes inquirat in quaestionibus; sic enim omnes, quae occurrerint, 

To THE READER OF 1631: 1 

It is useless to put off with a wordy preface those who appreciate brevity in 
the words of the Spirit: "There would be no sense in expanding the preface 
to the history and curtailing the history itself." 2 In order therefore to avoid 
wearying the reader, let me say only this concerning the scope of my work, 
that I have adopted, for the sake of brief and concise exposition, a method suited 
to the vigor of a Logic and Philosophy developed according to the mind of St. 
Thomas Aquinas. Accordingly, my plan has been not only to follow and repre- 
sent his assured doctrine, but to emulate as well his order, brevity, and modesty. 

Following his method and organization, I have divided the whole of Logic 
into two parts. The first part, which is called the Summulae books, comprises 
dialectical disputations and treats of formal logic. The second part, which con- 
cerns the predicables, categories, and the books of Posterior Analytics, treats 
of logical tools from the standpoint of analysis of content, as I explain more 
fully where those books are taken up. 

To imitate the brevity of St. Thomas, I have taken care to cut out of the 
Summulae books a vast forest of intractable questions and a thorny thicket of 
sophisms which serve only to burden and abrade the minds of students, caus- 
ing no little damage in the past. The metaphysical and other difficulties from 
the books On the Soul which the ardor of disputants has caused to intrude 
into the very beginning of the Summulae books, I have removed to their proper 
place, locating a treatise on signs and notices or modes of awareness 3 in Logic relative 
to the book On Interpretation. Whatever I have removed to the second part 
of Logic from the discussion of the term or other Summulae topics, I have so 
noted at the appropriate place. Even so, I have not been able to postpone discus- 
sion of all difficulties, but have taken up in the first part some of the principal 
and more necessary questions that conduce to an understanding of logical ques- 
tions for teachers and students alike. The reader will therefore take care, when 
he has completed a chapter of the Summulae text, to look into the correspond- 
ing difficulties discussed in the disputed questions which follow the Summulae 

1 Auctoris in universam Logicam praefatio. Author's preface to the entire Ars Logica. 

2 2. Machab. 2, 33. 

3 As the term "awareness" is not usually used in the plural as an English word, I have used 
the expression "modes of awareness," analogous to Norman Kemp Smith's translation of Erkennt- 
nisse as "modes of knowledge" (cf . Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp 
Smith [New York: St. Martin's Press, 1963], p. 42, note 1). Given the level of awareness under 
discussion in the context of our Treatise, "notices" would also be an appropriate rendering. 

6 [2] 


in the first part of Logic; for in this way the reader 
will be able more easily to perceive and overcome all 
the difficulties that arise. 

Finally, to engrave modesty (one of the more 
gracious of the holy Doctor's angelic virtues) upon 
this brevity, I have adopted the policy of abstaining 
from lengthy citations and lists of names in referring 
whether favorably or adversely to the positions of 
various authors (for I do not publish this work for 
the sake of contention or for promotion of partisan 
rivalries, but to advance inquiry into truth, which con- 
cerns doctrine and not persons). This policy is also 
calculated to better dispose readers, in whom knowl- 
edge is instilled the more easily when it is studied 
not so much in terms of the contention of authors and 
authorities as in terms of the struggle for truth alone. 
My fullest wish, cultured reader, is that you may at- 
tain truth with increased profit from this fragile but 
dedicated pen. Farewell. 

difficultates facilius percipiet et evincere 

Ut denique modestiam (gratiorem inter 
angelicas S. Doctoris virtutes gemmam) 

5 brevi huic annulo exculperemus, placuit sic 
diversorum auctorum placita aut referre aut 
impugnare aut sequi, ut plerumque a pro- 
lixa citatione et publicatione nominum ab- 
stineremus (nee enim haec nostra evulgamus 

10 aut contentioni aut aemulationis zelo obse- 
cundantes, sed veritatis inquisition! servien- 
tes, quae doctrinam respicit, non personas); 
et ut audientium commodo prospiceremus, 
quibus facilius instillatur doctrina, si non tarn 

is auctorum et auctoritatum concertationi 
quam veritatis solius luctae studeatur. Quam 
ut multiplicato foenore assequi possis, hu- 
manissime lector, tenui hoc, sed affectuoso 
calamo plenissime peroptamus. Vale. 

Alcala, Spain, 1631 

Alcala, Spain, 1631 

First Semiotic Marker 

This "Word to the Reader" of 1631 includes Poinsot's public announce- 
ment of his forthcoming Treatise on Signs. Though that Treatise is to be issued 
as a part of the much larger work on Logic, the Ars Logica that he here introduces, 
it is clear from the way he singles out the Treatise that it occupies a position 
of special importance in his understanding of the whole. 

Moreover, the relationship of the Treatise to his Summulae, or introductory, 
texts on logic is clear: it covers the same material as the opening chapters of 
the introductory texts, but at a deeper level and reorganized according to a 
different point of view, one for which Poinsot himself has no specific name, 
but which exactly corresponds to the viewpoint Locke will suggest and label 
semiotic fifty-nine years later and without knowledge of Poinsot's ground- 
breaking work. 

Finally, in asserting that the "proper place" for the Treatise is under the 
traditional heading of "Interpretation," Poinsot implies a critique of the entire 
tradition of Latin Aristotelianism which had developed a logic exclusively of 
terms and propositions, and arguments made from these, whereas in fact "in- 
terpretation" is a much broader activity coextensive with the entire life of the 
mind, what Peirce, developing Locke's suggestion, will label in our own day 
semiosis. This critique will become much sharper and more explicit when Poin- 
sot reaches the point in his survey of the whole of logic traditionally conceived 
where the Aristotelian books on interpretation would normally be considered, 
as we shall see. 

But in the meantime, the lines to be followed for disengaging the Treatise 
on Signs from the larger whole of the Ars Logica have already been clearly drawn 
in all essentials: the reader should have a look at the opening Summulae texts 
which germinate in terminist perspective (the perspective of a logic of terms, 
propositions, and arguments) the problems reduced to their proper unity in 
the Treatise on Signs; then turn to the section of the second part of Poinsot's 
Logic concerning the Aristotelian treatment of "Interpretation" where one will 
find the Treatise on Signs proper. Additionally, since the Treatise was originally 
embedded in the second part of the larger whole of the Ars Logica, Poinsot's 
"Introduction to the Entire Work," explaining its style and organization, would 
pertain equally to an understanding of the independent Treatise, as would the 
"Word to the Reader" Poinsot added in 1640 to a republication of the Artis 
Logicae Secunda Pars, inasmuch as this second part was the original matrix of 
the Treatise on Signs. We take up each of these texts therefore in their proper 



in Duobus Praeludiis 


in Two Prologues 



Wherein Is Set Forth the Exercise and Practice of Dialectical Disputation 


Quo Proponitur Dialecticae Disputationis Exercitium et Praxis 

At the very beginning of the dialectic art that 
we modestly set out to explain, it seemed best to 
show beginners the form and procedure of disputa- 
tion in actual use and practice. It can be briefly 
described as follows. 

In any disputation, the first concern of the one 
arguing should be to propose an argument entirely 
reduced to form. That is to say, having stripped away 
everything superfluous, whether ambiguous words 
or lengthy declarations, the one arguing should 
succinctly and distinctly propose a syllogism or an 
enthymeme. A syllogism contains three proposi- 
tions, which are called the major premise, the minor 
premise, and the conclusion or consequent, con- 
nected by the sign of illation, which is the particle 
"therefore." The connection itself, however, is called 
the illation or consequence. An enthymeme contains 
two propositions, of which the first is called an 
antecedent, the second a consequent, also connected 
by an illation. For example, if I want to prove that 
one ought not embrace a life of voluptuousness, 
I form a syllogism thus: "Whatever opposes true 
human virtue ought not to be embraced; a volup- 
tuous life opposes true human virtue; therefore it 
ought not to be embraced." Or, if I wish to form 
an enthymeme of antecedent and consequent, I 
form it thus: "A voluptuous life is opposed to the 
arduousness of virtue; therefore it ought not to be 



In ipsa fronte artis Dialecticae, quam pro 
exiguitate nostra explicare aggredimur, for- 
mam modumque disputationis tironibus in 
ipso exercitio et praxi proponere visum est, 
quae sic breviter explicari potest. 

Igitur in quacumque disputatione primo 
loco arguens proponere curet argumentum, 
omnino ad f ormam redactum, omnibus aliis, 
sive verborum ambagibus sive longis de- 
clarationibus amputatis, succincteque ac 
distincte syllogismum vel enthymema pro- 
ponat. Et syllogismus continet tres pro- 
positiones, quae dicuntur maior et minor et 
conclusio seu consequens, per notam illa- 
tionis, quae est particula ,, ergo ", connexas; 
ipsa autem connexio vocatur illatio vel con- 
sequentia. Enthymema autem continet 
duas propositiones, quarum prima vocatur 
antecedens, secunda consequens, eodem 
etiam modo connexas. V. g. intendo pro- 
bare, quod vita voluptuosa non sit amplec- 
tenda, formo sic syllogismum: Quidquid 
honestati virtutis repugnat, non est amplec- 
tendum; vita voluptuosa honestati virtutis 
repugnat; ergo non est amplectenda. Vel 
si volo forrnare enthymema ex antecedente 
et consequente, sic formo: Vita voluptuosa 
opponitur arduitati virtutis; ergo non est 

* Cf. p. 456 for explanation of typographic conventions used in the text. 



Hearing the formulation of the argument, the one 
responding should attend to nothing except to repeat 
integrally and faithfully the argument proposed, and 
meanwhile, while he repeats the argument, he should 
consider carefully whether each premise is true, and 
to be granted, or false, and to be denied, or doubtful 
or equivocal, and to be distinguished. He should 
likewise consider whether the consequence or illation 
is valid or invalid. Having repeated the argument 
once without saying anything by way of response, 
the one responding then should repeat and respond 
to the propositions of the argument taken singly, in 
this order: If there were three propositions and he thinks 
the first to be true, he should say: "I grant the major 
premise." If he thinks it false, he should say: "I deny 
the major." If he thinks it does not matter for the conclu- 
sion that ought to be inferred or drawn, he should say: 
"Let the major pass," although this formula should be 
used modestly and rarely, 1 and not unless it is clearly 
the case that the proposition is irrelevant. If he thinks 
the major is doubtful or equivocal; he should say: "I dis- 
tinguish the major," and make the distinction with few 
and clear words, based on the term in which there is 
an equivocation. Having made the distinction, he 
should not immediately explain it, unless either the 
opponent asks for an explanation, or [he himself sees 
how] it was not expressed clearly enough, in which 
case he should explain it as briefly as he can. Especially 
at the beginning of a disputation he should not use 
up time explaining distinctions, but should in no wise 
depart from the form itself of his argument. When the 
major has been granted or explained under a distinc- 
tion, he proceeds to the minor premise and observes 
the same procedures in denying or conceding or dis- 
tinguishing that we have set out for the major premise. 
Then, coming to the conclusion, if it must be conceded, 
he says: "I grant the consequence." If it must be denied, 
he says, "I deny the consequence." But if the conclusion 
must be distinguished, he should not say, "I distinguish 
the consequence," but rather, "I distinguish the conse- 
quent;" for since the consequence consists in the illation itself, 
but not in an assertion of truth, it can be a valid or an 
invalid illation, and so can be granted or denied as 
valid or invalid, but it cannot be distinguished, because 
a distinction falls upon an equivocation or ambiguity 
in a proposition so far as the proposition has diverse 
senses in signifying a truth, not upon the correctness it- 
self of an illation. The consequent, however, is the il- 
lated [or inferred] proposition, which can be certain or 

Audita propositione argumenti defen- 
dens ad nihil aliud attendat, quam ut integre 
ac fideliter propositum argumentum repetat 
et interim, dum argumentum resumit, per- 

5 pendat, an aliqua praemissarum sit vera, ut 
concedatur, vel falsa, ut negetur, an dubia 
vel aequivoca, ut distinguatur; item conse- 
quentia seu illatio an sit bona vel mala. 
Resumpto semel argumento et nihil ad illud 

w respondens, secundo repetat et ad singu- 
las propositiones respondeat hoc ordine. 
Si fuerint tres propositiones et primam vi- 
deat esse veram, dicat: Concede maior- 
em. Sivideatessefalsam, dicat: Nego 

is maiorem. Si videat non pertinere ad con- 
clusionem inferendam, dicat: Transeat 
maior, quamquam hoc verbo modeste et 
parce utendum est, 1 nee nisi clare constet 
propositionem impertinenter se habere. Si 

20 videat maiorem esse dubiam aut aequivo- 
cam, dicat: Distinguo maiorem , et 
super terminum, in quo est aequivocatio, 
faciat distinctionem brevibus verbis, et non 
confusis. Data autem distinctione non statim 

25 illam explicet, nisi vel impugnator id petat, 
vel non satis clare fuerit prolata, et tune bre- 
vissime illam explicet. Praesertim autem in 
initio disputationis non consumat tempus 
in explicandis distinctionibus, sed ab ipsa 

30 forma nullatenus recedat. Concessa maiore 
vel sub distinctione explicata procedat ad 
minorem et idem observet in negando vel 
concedendo aut distinguendo, sicut diximus 
de maiori. Deinde ad conclusionem deve- 

35 niendo, si est concedenda, dicat: C o n c e- 
do consequentiam, sineganda, dicat: 
Nego consequentiam. Si autem est 
distinguenda, non dicat: Distinguo conse- 
quentiam, seddistinguo consequens; 

40 consequentia enim cum consistat in ipsa il- 
latione, non vero in assertione veritatis, 
potest esse bona vel mala illatio, et sic con- 
cedi aut negari ut bona vel mala, sed non 
distingui, quia distinctio cadit super aequi- 

45 vocationem aut ambiguitatem propositionis, 
quatenus habet diversos sensus in significan- 
do veritatem, non super ipsam convenien- 
tiam illationis. Ipsum autem consequens est 
propositio illata, quae potest esse certa aut 

fact, Poinsot uses this expression only once in his Treatise, at 144/11 ( = 660a48). 

12 [4a32-b39] 


equivocal or ambiguous; whence, when it is equivocal, 
it is distinguished, and so one does not say "I 
distinguish the consequence," but "I distinguish the 
consequent." Yet if the consequent is to be conced- 
ed or denied, since this cannot be done except by con- 
ceding or denying the consequence itself, it suffices 
to say "I deny (or I grant) the consequence," but not 
to say "I deny (or I grant) the consequent." 

When a distinction has been made respecting some 
proposition, that same distinction should be applied 
as many times as the same equivocation occurs. One 
should not subdistinguish the sense of a distinction 
once that distinction has been granted unless another 
equivocation plainly appears which cannot be re- 
moved by the prior distinction. It is safer to deny 
whatever is false and not permit it to pass, unless it 
is certainly a case of an invalid consequence. If the 
one responding does not grasp the sense of the prop- 
osition, and so is unable to discern truth or falsity or 
equivocation, he should ask the one propounding the 
argument to explain its sense, and then he should 
repeat the explanation. 

Finally, the one responding should take care to 
answer with few words, and to be bound only by the 
form of the argument. Nor should he give a reason 
for everything he says, unless a reason is asked of 
him. He should rather leave to the one arguing the 
entire burden of proof; for in this way the force of 
the argument becomes more formally clear, and it is 
the more quickly dispatched. 

It is part of the task of the one presenting the argu- 
ment: First, not to lay down many presuppositions, 
nor to introduce many middle terms, nor to propose 
excessively long or intricate propositions, but to hold 
succinctly and stringently to form, not by asking many 
questions, but rather by setting forth proofs, except 
when the force of the argument devolves upon this, 
that he is asked a reason for the things said, or when 
the state of the disputation and the point of the diffi- 
culty have not yet been made sufficiently clear. Sec- 
ond, to proceed always with the same middle term 
through its causes and principles, or in deducing an 
inconsistency, but not to switch to another middle 
term, or to repeat a proof already proposed either in 
the same or in other words, because both are unduly 
wordy and tedious. Finally, he should not always use 
a syllogism, but sometimes an enthymeme, which 
proceeds more briefly and concisely and manifests 
less force of hidden illation, and for this reason 
presents a greater difficulty to the one responding. 

aequivoca aut ambigua, unde quando aequi- 
voca est, distinguitur, et sic non dicitur 
distinguo consequentiam , sed distinguo 
consequens. Si tamen concedendum aut 

5 negandum est consequens, quia id fieri non 
potest, nisi concedendo aut negando ipsam 
consequentiam, sufficit dicere, nego vel 
concede consequentiam, non vero conse- 

w Facta distinctione super aliqua proposi- 
tione, quoties occurrat eadem aequivocatio, 
adhibeat eandem distinctionem. Non sub- 
distinguat sensum distinctionis semel con- 
cessum, nisi evidenter alia aequivocatio 

25 appareat, quae priori distinctione tolli non 
potuit. Quodcumque falsum, tutius est ne- 
gare, nee permittere ut transeat, nisi certo 
constet de malitia consequentiae. Si sensum 
propositionis non percipiat, ut veritatem aut 

20 falsitatem vel aequivocationem discernat, 
petat ab arguente, ut eius sensum explicet, 
et tune resumat. 

Denique curet pauca respondere et solum 
alligari f ormae argumenti, nee de omnibus, 

25 quae dicit, velit rationem reddere, nisi ab 

ipso petatur, sed totum onus probandi 

arguenti relinquat; sic enim et argumenti vis 

formalius innotescit et citius expeditur. 

Ad munus argumentatoris pertinet: 

so Primo, non praemittere plures praesup- 
positiones, nee inculcare plura media, nee 
propositiones nimis longas aut intricatas 
proponere, sed succincte ad formam se 
astringere, non pluribus interrogationibus 

35 utendo, sed magis probationes urgendo, nisi 
quando vis argumenti ad hoc devolvitur, 
ut petatur ratio dictorum, vel quando sta- 
tus disputationis et punctus difficultatis 
nondum est sufficienter declaratus. S e c u n- 

40 d o, prosequatur semper idem medium per 
suas causas et principia, vel ad inconven- 
iens deducendo, non vero divertat ad aliud 
medium, nee repetat probationem semel 
propositam aut eisdem aut aliis verbis, quia 

45 utrumque valde prolixum et taediosum 
est. Denique non semper utatur syllogis- 
mo, sed quandoque enthymemate, quod 
brevius et concisius procedit minusque 
manifestat vim latentis illationis ideoque 

so maiorem respondenti incutit difficultatem. 


[4b40-5a3] 13 

It is, finally, the task of the Moderator of the dialec- 
tical exercise: 2 First, to comprehend attentively the 
entire progress of the argument and disputation. 
Second, to see to it that the form of arguing and re- 
sponding is fully observed. Third, not to assume or 
preempt the function of the one responding, much 
less that of the one arguing, but to suggest prudently 
according to the perceived need of the one respond- 
ing a denial, a concession, or a distinction within some 
proposition. Finally, to render a judgment briefly 
at the end of the disputation and to clear up any 


Ad munus tandem Patroni seu Praesi- 
dentis spectat: 2 Primo, attente totum pro- 
gressum argumenti et disputationis compre- 
hendere. Secundo, providere, ut forma 
arguendi et respondendi omnino servetur. 
T e r t i o, off icium respondentis non assume- 
re vel praevenire, et multo minus impugna- 
toris, sed provide iuxta quod viderit indigere 
respondentem, suggerere negationem, con- 
cessionem aut distinctionem propositionis. 
Tandem, in fine iudicium de disputatione 
breviter ferre et obscura declarare. 

2 This, in effect, is the task that falls to the reader of the Treatise on Signs. 



The Division of the Logical Art, 
Its Order and Necessity 


Artis Logicae Divisio, Ordo, Necessitas 

In any art, thought must be given principally to two 
things, namely, the matter in which the art works, and 
the form drawn out of that matter. For example, houses 
are made from stones and wood, but their form is a com- 
position, because these particular beams and stones are 5 
coordinated among themselves in the single figure and 
structure of a house. The architect does not supply the 
material, but presupposes its reality; what he does sup- 
ply and draw out is the form, which, because it was 
properly educed by art, is simultaneously principally in- w 
tended by that art, as being something produced by it. 
But Logic is "a kind of art which has as its function the 
direction of reason, lest it err in the paths of discours- 
ing and knowing," just as the art of the builder directs 
the worker, lest he err in the building of the house. And is 
therefore Logic is called a rational art, not only because 
it exists in the reasoning mind as in a subject, just as 
do all arts, but because the materials it directs are them- 
selves works of human understanding. 

Now since reason proceeds analytically in develop- 20 
ing opinions and making judgments, that is to say, in 
deducing its principles and discerning proofs by which 
reason is manifested, the preservation of reason from 
error is identical with enabling it to resolve rightly 
and properly the reasonings to which it applies itself. 25 
For this reason, Aristotle called the parts of Logic 
dealing with the making sure of judgments "analytics," 
that is, resolutory, because they teach the right resolu- 
tion of reasonings and the avoidance of errors. But 

In omni arte duo sunt praecipue con- 
sideranda, scilicet materia, in qua ars ope- 
ratur, et forma, quae in tali materia indu- 
citur, sicut in f acienda domo materia sunt 
lapides et ligna, forma autem est compo- 
sitio, quia ista inter se coordinantur in una 
figura et structura domus. Materiam artifex 
non facit, sed praesupponit, formam vero 
inducit, quae quia proprie educitur ab arte, 
est etiam principaliter intenta ab ilia, ut- 
pote factura eius. Est autem Logica ars 
quaedam, cuius munus est dirigere rati- 
onem, ne in modo discurrendi et cogno- 
scendi erret , sicut ars aedificatoria dirigit 
artificem, ne erret in f acienda domo. Et 
ideo Logica dicitur ars rationalis, non 
solum quia est in ratione ut in subiecto, 
sicut aliae artes, sed quia materia, quam 
dirigit, sunt ipsa opera rationis. 

Et quia ratio ad discurrendum et feren- 
dum iudicium procedit per modum resolu- 
tionis, hoc est, in sua principia deducendo 
et probationes, quibus manifestatur, dis- 
cernendo, idem est Logicam dirigere ratio- 
nem, ne erret, ac dirigere, ut recte et debite 
resolvat. Unde Aristoteles partes Logicae, 
quae docent certum praebere iudicium, vo- 
cavit analyticas, id est resolutorias, quia do- 
cent recte et sine errore resolvere. Fit au- 


[5a43-b34] 15 

right resolution of reasonings comes about owing both 
to the requirements of the form and to the certitude 
of the matter. "Materials" here signifies the things or 
objects we wish to rightly objectify or come to know. 
But form is the very mode or disposition whereby the 
objects known are connected in a pattern according 
to which they may be properly expressed and cog- 
nized, for without such connection no truth is con- 
ceived, nor does any discourse, or illation of one truth 
from another, develop. Now resolution (analysis) on 
the side of the form is said to pertain to prior analytics, 
but resolution on the side of the materials, in terms 
of certainty and requisite conditions, pertains to 
posterior analytics, because the consideration of a form 
created by art (the methodology or technique) is prior to 
the consideration of materials in any art. 

Hence we divide the art of Logic into two parts. 
In the first part, we treat of all that pertains to the 
form of logical art and to prioristic analysis, the sub- 
jects treated by Aristotle in the books On Interpreta- 
tion and in the books of the Prior Analytics. These 
are also the subjects customarily treated in the Sum- 
mulae books for beginning students. In the second 
part, we treat of what pertains to the content of the 
reasoning or to posterioristic analysis, especially in 
the matter of demonstrations, at which Logic aims 
above all. 1 

And in that first part the Summulae textbooks 
we provide brief summaries as the first thing students 
must learn; then, for advanced students, we dispute 
more difficult questions. In the second part, by con- 
trast, we submit to dispute more useful and weighty 
questions, following an ordered summary of the texts 
of Porphyry and of Aristotle. 

tern recta resolutio turn ex debita forma, turn 
ex certitudine materiae . M a t e r i a sunt res 
seu obiecta, quae volumus recte cognoscere. 
Forma autem est ipse modus seu disposi- 
5 tio, qua connectuntur obiecta cognita, ut 
debite discurratur et cognoscatur, quia sine 
connexione nee veritas aliqua concipitur, nee 
ex una veritate ad aliam fit discursus et il- 
latio. Et resolutio ex parte formae dicitur 
w pertinere ad priorem resolutionem, ex parte 
vero materiae secundum certitudinem et 
conditiones debitas ad posteriorem resolu- 
tionem, eo quod consideratio formae arti- 
ficiosae est prior in aliqua arte, quam con- 
is sideratio materiae. 

Hinc ergo sumimus divisionem artis 
Logicae et f acimus duas partes : In p r i m a 
agemus de omnibus his, quae pertinent ad 
formam artis Logicae et ad prioristicam 
20 resolutionem, de quibus egit Philosophus in 
libris Perihermenias et in libris Priorum Ana- 
lyticorum, et in Summulis tradi solent tiro- 
nibus. In secunda vero parte agemus de 
his, quae pertinent ad materiam logicalem 
25 seu ad posterioristicam resolutionem, max- 
ime in demonstratione, ad quam praecipue 
ordinatur Logica. 1 

Et in hac prima parte formamus brevem 
textum pro discipulis primum erudiendis, 
so deinde pro provectioribus quaestiones dif- 
ficiliores disputamus. In secunda vero parte 
iuxta textum Porphyrii et Aristotelis sum- 
matim positum utiliores et graviores subici- 
emus disputationes. 

1 Poinsot's own distribution of the materials in this traditional coverage is represented in 
the following schema: 

Art of Reasoning 

Prior Analytics: 
Summulae or Beginners' Texts 

Posterior Analytics: 
"more useful and weighty questions" 

Tractatus de Signis" 

16 [5b35-6bll] 


The Order of Treatment. Since Logic provides the 
means of reasoning rightly, and since there are three 
acts of reason, which pass into one another, as St. 
Thomas teaches in the first reading of the first book 
of his Commentary on the Posterior Analytics, 2 there is 
no better order to follow than that of treating Logic 
in terms of these three operations. The first opera- 
tion of our understanding is called simple apprehen- 
sion or awareness as when I think of a man without 
making any judgments concerning him. The second 
is composition or division, when to wit I know a 
thing in such a way as to attribute or deny something 
to it, as when I say a man is white or deny he is a 
stone. The third operation is discourse, as when I infer 
and gather from some known truth another not so 
known; for example, from the truth of the proposi- 
tion "man is rational" I infer that "he is therefore 
capable of learning through experience." The first 
thing I apprehend therefore are terms, then I com- 
pose from them a proposition, and finally I make of 
propositions discourse. 

Hence we separate this first part into three books: 
A first for treating of whatever pertains to the first 
operation, and it is here that we discuss simple terms. 
A second for the second operation, where we treat 
of speaking and of the proposition and its properties. 
A third book for the third operation, where we treat 
of the ways of discoursing and of forming syllogisms 
and induction and all else that pertains to the domain 
of things to be reasoned. 

In the second part of the Logic we treat of what per- 
tains to the matter of such operations, especially as 
they are ordered to the forming of certain judgments 
derived from necessary truths, which comes about 
through demonstration. Now necessary truths de- 
pend upon essential predicates, of the sort organized 
in the categories, and these in turn derive from the 
predicables, which express the modes of predicating, 
as will be explained more fully at the beginning of 
the Second Part of the Logic. Nor is it redundant for 
simple terms and what pertains to the first operation 
to be treated twice in Logic, because, as St. Thomas 
says in the first reading of his Commentary on the first 
book of Aristotle's On Interpretation, 3 simple terms 
are treated from one point of view in the book of Cate- 
gories, namely, as signifying simple essences, from 
another point of view in the book On Interpreta- 
tion, namely, as they are parts of an enunciation, 

Ordo agendi. Cum Logica dirigat mo- 
dum recte ratiocinandi et sint tres actus ra- 
tionis, in quibus de uno proceditur ad alium, 
ut docet S. Thomas 1. Poster, lect. I. 2 , non 

5 potest melior ordo observari, quam ut trac- 
tatum Logicae per has tres operationes dis- 
tribuamus. Prima operatic nostri intellectus 
vocatur simplex apprehensio, ut cum intel- 
ligo hominem nihil de illo affirmando vel 

w negando. Secunda est compositio aut divi- 
sio, cum videlicet ita cognosco rem, ut illi 
aliquid attribuam vel negem, ut cum dico 
hominem album aut nego hominem esse 
lapidem. Tertia operatic est discursus, ut 

15 cum ex aliqua veritate nota infero et colligo 
aliam non ita notam, ut cum ex ista veritate 
homo est rationalis infero ergo est disci- 
plinabilis. Primum ergo apprehendo termi- 
nos, deinde compono ex illis propositionem, 

20 denique formo ex propositionibus discursum. 
Sic ergo in hac prima parte distribuemus 
tres libros: Primum pro his, quae perti- 
nent ad primam operationem, ubi agemus 
de simplicibus terminis . Secundum pro 

25 secunda operatione, ubi agemus de oratione 
et propositione eiusque proprietatibus. 
Tertium pro tertia, ubi agemus de modo 
discurrendi et formandi syllogismos et in- 
ductionem ceteraque pertinentia ad ratio- 

30 cinandum. 

In secunda autem parte Logicae agemus 
de his, quae pertinent ad materiam talium 
operationum, praecipue ut ordinatur ad for- 
mandum certum iudicium ex veritatibus ne- 

35 cessariis, quod fit per demonstrationem. 
Veritates autem necessario pendent ex prae- 
dicatis essentialibus, quae coordinantur in 
praedicamentis, et haec ex praedicabilibus, 
quae dicunt modos praedicandi, ut latius 

40 initio secundae partis Logicae explicabitur. 
Nee est inconveniens, quod de simplicibus 
et his, quae pertinent ad primam operatio- 
nem, agatur in Logica bis, quia, ut notat S. 
Thomas 1. Periherm. lect. I. 3 , de dictionibus 

45 simplicibus sub alia consideratione agitur in 
Praedicamentis, scilicet ut significant sim- 
plices essentias, sub alia in libro Periher- 
menias, scilicet ut sunt partes enuntiationis, 

2 Le I. 138. n. 4. 

3 Le I. 8. n. 5. 


[6bll-34] 17 

and from yet another viewpoint in the books of Prior 
Analytics, namely, as they constitute a syllogistic or- 

Finally, since it is possible in discourse to arrive 
at a judgment in three different ways namely, 
certainly, through demonstration; topically, through 
opinion; and erroneously, through sophisms Aris- 
totle treats of opinion in the Topics and of sophistic 
syllogisms in the Refutations after treating of demon- 
stration and knowledge in the books of Posterior 

There is the greatest need for this art, both for the 
general reason that man requires arts to direct his 
works rightly and without error, and for the specific 
reason that Logic directs the works of human under- 
standing on which all discourse and reasoning de- 
pend for being right, free of error, and orderly- 
something very necessary for a man making use of 
reason. But more of this in the opening question of 
the second part of the Logic. 



sub alia in libris Priorum, scilicet ut consti- 
tuunt ordinem syllogisticum. 

Denique, quia in discursu procedi potest 
tripliciter ad formandum iudicium, scilicet 
certo per demonstrationem, topice per opi- 
nionem, erronee per sophismata, ideo Aris- 
toteles postquam in libris Posteriorum egit 
de demonstratione et scientia, agit in Topicis 
de opinativo et in Elenchis de sophistico 

Necessitas huius artis maxima est, turn 
generali ratione omnium artium, quae ne- 
cessariae sunt, ut homo in suis operibus 
recte et sine errore dirigatur, turn specialiter, 
quia Logica dirigit opera rationis, ex quibus 
omnis discursus et ratiocinatio pendet, ut 
recta sit et sine errore et ordinate procedens, 
quod utique valde necessarium est homini 
ratione utenti. Sed de hoc amplius q. 1. pro- 
oem. secundae partis Logicae. 

Second Semiotic Marker 

The importance of this second prologue to appreciating the interest of Poin- 
sot's Treatise on Signs lies in seeing the extent of the tradition which Poinsot 
undertakes to dominate in writing his Ars Logica. The Isagoge (or "Introduc- 
tion") of Porphyry, along with the Categories and other of Aristotle's logical 
tracts, was introduced to the Latin West in the sixth century through the transla- 
tions and commentaries of Boethius. Though the creative period of Scholastic 
logic did not begin until around the middle of the twelfth century (Bochenski, 
1961: 149), the kind of problematic presented by Aristotle in his Prior Analytics 
and focused on by the Scholastics in their textbooks of logic, together with the 
works of Porphyry and Boethius, formed the center of logical discussion for 
the whole of Latin thought up to the dawn of modern times. Thus Poinsot, 
coming at the very end of Latin philosophy and Aristotelianism, but without 
seeing that work and time as at an end, sought to situate his Treatise on Signs 
relative to the whole Latin past of the philosophical tradition, and was more 
concerned with clarifying the tradition than he was with marking out a new 
beginning. Nothing could put him in sharper contrast with his contemporary, 
Rene Descartes, who wanted to begin anew at the expense of tradition. 
Nonetheless, Poinsot' s Treatise, as we shall see, essays a new beginning able 
to incorporate and redistribute the entire medieval and renaissance heritage 
of philosophical discourse, while at the same time opening it to the central 
epistemological concerns that come to the fore in classical modern philosophy, 
precisely by putting the heritage of the past into what we now call a semiotic 

Yet, as a Professor in the great Spanish university at Alcala, charged par- 
ticularly with preserving and elaborating the philosophical heritage of St. 
Thomas Aquinas, Poinsot did not think that the introductory course in logic, 
which in that university milieu was the point of entry into the whole of 
philosophical thought, was the proper place to lay the foundations of a new 
beginning. Hence, explicitly aware, as already indicated in his "Word to the 
Reader," that the semiotic point of view is interruptive of the then traditional 
terminist treatment of introductory logical questions called Summulae in the 
wake of the overwhelming success of the thirteenth-century introductory text, 
the Summulae Logicales of Peter of Spain (cf. Simonin, 1930: 143), a man born 
in Poinsot' s native Lisbon and also foundational to it, Poinsot is careful to reserve 
the full discussion of signs to the second part of his Logic, which part is neither 
introductory nor properly restricted to concern with logical form. He is fur- 




ther careful to situate the full discussion within that second part at a point where 
the students following his Cursus Philosophicus will have already become familiar 
with those notions in the Latin tradition to which the semiotician can most fruit- 
fully refer for the purpose of making intelligible and effective the new begin- 
ning in philosophy that the doctrine of signs requires. We will see this explicitly 
put in Poinsot's "Remarks on Aristotle's books On Interpretation" (pp. 38-39 
below), which spell out the relation of the Treatise to the Aristotelian tradition, 
its philosophical justification, and its presuppositions. 

But in this second prologue, together with the "Word to the Reader" of 
the Ars Logica already examined (pp. 4-6 above), the sense in which the Treatise 
on Signs constitutes a new beginning is already clear. In the first place, it covers 
the very materials that make up the opening three chapters of the Summulae 
books. In the second place, and more fundamentally, these opening materials 
of the Summulae books concern the simplest elements of the primary form of cognitive 
life: nothing less than the role of the sign at the origins and foundations of 
awareness is what Poinsot undertakes to envisage in removing the discussion 
from the traditional terminist perspective and recasting it in a unity and perspec- 
tive proper to it. The Treatise, then, for all Poinsot's conservative concerns and 
commitment to tradition in the very sense that post-Cartesian Europe will re- 
ject, is of its very nature a radical work: it takes up again the then traditional 
point of entry into philosophical study, and reshapes that point of departure 
according to a semiotic understanding of the fundamental activity of mind 
namely, awareness as such. We have here nothing less than the doctrinal begin- 
nings of the semiotic revolution, which has become an intellectual movement 
only in our century. 

Prima Pars 



Liber Primus 
De His, Quae Spectant Ad Primam Operationem Intellectus 

Joao Poinsot 



The First Part of the 


[Preliminary Texts on the Doctrine of Signs] 

The First of the Summulae Books 

Covering Matters Which Pertain to the 

First Operation of the Understanding 

Joao Poinsot 

: (Alcala) 




The Definition of Term 


Definitio Termini 

Authors think differently about the definition of 
a term/ according as they consider in it diverse 
respects or functions: that of a part entering into the 
composition of a sentence in whatever manner; or 
that of a principal part in the mode of an extreme only, 
whether an extreme terminating the analysis of a 
proposition and argument, or an extreme in the mode 
of a predicate and of a subject. 

Certainly all these considerations are legitimate 
and have a place in the discussion of terms, but one 
must see which among them more suitably expresses the 
nature of a term for purposes of the present discussion. Our 
minds proceed analytically in matters of knowledge, 
and particularly in Logic (which is called "Analytics" 
by Aristotle, 2 because it is resolutory). There must, 
therefore, be an element or term of this analysis 
designatable as final, beyond which resolution by 
logical art cannot proceed (just as also in natural 
generation prime matter is the ultimate principle of 
resolution). If this were not the case, either the reso- 
lution would proceed to infinity, or there would 
not be a complete resolution. And since the com- 
pletion of an analysis and the starting point of syn- 
thesis are the same, that which is the last element into 
which logical composites are resolved or analyzed 

Varie de definitione termini 1 sentiunt 
auctores, secundum quod considerant in eo 
diversos respectus vel officia, sive partis 
componentis orationem quomodocumque, 

5 sive partis principalis et per modum extremi 
tantum, sive per modum terminantis resolu- 
tionem propositionis et syllogismi, sive per 
modum praedicati et subiecti. 

Et quidem considerationes istae verae 

w sunt et omnes in termino locum habent, sed 
oportet videre, quaenam convenientius ex- 
plicet naturam termini, ut pertinet ad prae- 
sens. Cum enim mens nostra in scientiis 
resolutorie procedat, et praesertim in Logica, 

is quae Analytica ab Aristotele 2 dicitur, quia 
resolutoria, oportet, quod sit designabile 
ultimum elementum seu terminus huius 
resolutionis, ultra quod non fiat resolutio ab 
arte, sicut etiam in naturali generatione 

20 materia prima est ultimum principium reso- 
lutionis, alioquin vel procedetur in infinitum, 
vel non fiet perfecta resolutio. Et quia idem 
est terminus resolutionis et principium com- 
positionis, id quod fuerit ultimum elemen- 

25 turn, in quod composita logicalia resolvun- 

1 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "id est simplicis dictionis, ut homo, Petrus, lapis" "that is, of a 
simple expression, such as 'man/ 'Peter/ 'stone.' 

2 Rhet. I. c. 4. (1359 b 10). 


[7bl4-8b3] 23 

will also be the first element out of which the others 
are composed. 

With this in mind, our concern in the present dis- 
cussion is with the term understood as the last ele- 
ment into which every logical composite even the 5 
proposition itself and a statement is resolved; 
because from this term, as from something first and 
simple, it is proper to begin. And although Aristot- 
le, in his Prior Analytics, Book I, chap. I, 3 would 
define the term as that "into which a proposition is w 
resolved as into a predicate and a subject," never- 
theless, he has not yet there defined the term in its 
entire extent, but restrictively, as it serves for 
syllogistic construction and composition. A syllogism 
is established from three terms inasmuch as they are is 
extremes in propositions and take on the order or 
character of a syllogistic, i.e., illative, part. In other 
passages, Aristotle has considered the term under a 
more universal rationale as it is also common to noun 
and verb (not called "term," but "expression" or 20 
"diction"), as the noun or the verb functions in a 
sentence, rather than in an inference. Whence St. 
Thomas, in Book I, reading 8, n. 17, of his Commen- 
tary on Aristotle's Treatise on Interpretation* explaining 
Aristotle's statement that "a noun and a verb only 25 
will be an expression," 5 says: "And it is clear from 
the context that Aristotle himself would have used 
this name ["expression": dictio] for signifying the 
parts of a sentence." According to Aristotle and St. 
Thomas, therefore, there is some rationale common 30 
to the parts of a sentence, which the Philosopher calls 
"an expression" (or "diction") and which we are call- 
ing "a term," on the grounds that in it all analysis 
is terminated, not only of the syllogism, but even of 
a sentence, which is composed of simple expressions 35 
and consequently resolved into them. And in reading 
5, n. 15, of the same work, 6 St. Thomas says that 
sometimes "name" is understood according as it 
signifies generally any expression whatever, including 
even the verb. And at the beginning of his 40 
Summa of the Whole Logic of Aristotle, 7 he calls terms 
the "parts of a sentence." We say, therefore, that one 
should begin from this most general acceptation of 
"term" as from the final element of the whole of 
logical analysis, and that one should define "term" 45 

tur, dicetur etiam primum, ex quo cetera 

Hoc igitur attendentes dicimus nos agere 
in praesenti de termino sub conceptu ultimi 
elementi, in quod terminarur omnis resolutio 
compositionis logicae, etiam ipsius proposi- 
tionis et orationis, quia ab hoc ut a prime et 
simpliciori convenit incipere. Et licet Aris- 
toteles in 1. Priorum 3 definierit terminum 
per id, in quod resolvitur propositio ut in 
praedicatum et subiectum , tamen ibi non 
definivit terminum in tota sua latitudine, sed 
contracte, ut deservit ad fabricam et com- 
positionem syllogisticam, in qua syllogismus 
constat ex tribus terminis, quatenus sunt ex- 
trema in propositionibus et induunt habitu- 
dinem partis syllogisticae, id est illativae. 
Ceterum alibi consideravit Aristoteles ter- 
minum sub universaliori ratione, ut etiam est 
communis nomini et verbo, et non sub vo- 
cabulo termini, sed sub vocabulo dictionis, 
ut induit ordinem componentis enuntiatio- 
nem, non habitudinem inferentis in syllo- 
gismo. Unde D. Thomas 1. Periherm. lect. 
8. Excludit* exponens illud verbum 
Aristotelis: Nomen ergo et verbum dictio 
sit sola, 5 inquit: Et videtur ex modo lo- 
quendi, quod ipse imposuerit hoc nomen ad 
significandum partes enuntiationis. Datur 
ergo secundum Aristotelem et D. Thomam 
aliqua ratio communis partibus enuntia- 
tionis, quam Philosophus dictionem, nos ter- 
minum vocamus, quia in ipso omnis reso- 
lutio terminatur, non solum syllogismi, sed 
etiam enuntiationis, quae ex simplicibus 
componitur et consequenter in ilia resolvitur. 
Et ibidem lect. 5. Ostendit 6 elicit S. Thomas, 
quod aliquando nomen sumitur, prout com- 
muniter significat quamlibet dictionem, 
etiam ipsum verbum. Et in opusc. 48. in 
initio 7 vocat terminos ,, partes enuntia- 
tionis ". Ab hac ergo communissima accep- 
tione termini tamquam ab ultimo elemento 
totius resolutionis logicae dicimus esse in- 
cipiendum et de illo tradendam definitio- 


3 c. 1. (24 b 16). 

4 Le I. 39. n. 17. 

5 Periherm. c. 5. (17 a 17). 

6 Le I. 26. n. 15. 

7 Summa tot. Log. Arist. Prooem. (Pa XVII. 54 a). 

24 [8b4-44] 


And so an expression ("diction") or term is defined 
not through the extremes of a proposition only, or 
through predicate and subject, but through something 
more general, namely, "that out of which a simple 
proposition is made;" or rather, following Aristotle, 
who defined noun, verb, and statement as spoken 
words (because they are the signs more known to us), 
the term is defined: "A vocal expression significative 
by stipulation, from which a simple proposition or 
sentence is constructed." 8 But in order to include 
the mental and the written term, it will be defined: 
"A sign out of which a simple proposition is con- 

It is called a sign or significant sound in order to 
exclude sounds without significance, e.g., "blitiri," 
just as Aristotle excludes them in the case of the 
noun and the verb; and since every term is a noun, 
a verb, or an adverb, if none of these is a sound 
without significance, no sound without significance 
is a term, as I will show more at length in the ques- 
tion concerning this matter. It is said to be by 
stipulation, in order to exclude sounds naturally 
significant, e.g., a groan. It is said to be that from 
which a simple proposition is made, in order to rule 
out the proposition or statement itself, which is not 
the elementary component, but is something com- 
posite as a whole; and if it is sometimes a component, 
it is a component not of a simple but of a hypothetical 

Whether a term outside of a proposition is a part 
in act as regards the essence and character of a part, 
even though not functioning as a component, I will 
discuss in this first part of Logic in Art. 3 of Q. 1, 
"Concerning Terms." 

Et sic definitur terminus seu dictio non 
per extremum propositionis tantum aut per 
praedicatum et subiectum, sed per aliquid 
communius, scilicet id, ex quo simplex con- 

5 ficitur propositio ; vel potius imitantes Aris- 
totelem, qui nomen, verbum et orationem 
per voces definit, quia sunt signa nobis 
notiora, definitur: Vox significativa ad 
placitum, ex qua simplex conficitur proposi- 

10 tio vel oratio. 8 Ut autem comprehendit 
mentalem terminum et scriptum, definietur: 
Signum, ex quo simplex conficitur proposi- 
tio >>. 

Dicitur signum vel vox significa- 

15 tiva ad excludendum voces non significa- 
tivas, ut blitiri, sicut illas exclusit Aristoteles 
in nomine et verbo; et cum omnis terminus 
sit nomen, verbum vel adverbium, si nihil 
horum est vox non significativa, non est ter- 

20 minus, ut latius in quaestione de hac re 
ostendam. Dicitur ad placitum ad exclu- 
dendas voces significativas naturaliter, ut 
gemitus. Dicitur ex qua simplex confi- 
citur propositio ad excludendam ipsam 

25 propositionem seu orationem, quae non est 
primum elementum componens, sed est ali- 
quid compositum ut totum, et si aliquando 
componit, non simplicem, sed hypotheticam 
propositionem componit. 

30 An vero terminus sit extra propositionem 
actu pars, quantum ad essentiam et 
habitudinem partis, licet non quoad exer- 
citium componendi, dicemus infra q. 1. de 
Termino, art. 3. 

8 cf. Periherm. c. 2. (16 a 19); c. 4. (16 b 26). 



The Definition and Division of Signs 


Definitio et Divisio Signi 

A term, no less than a statement and a proposi- 
tion, and any other logical instrument, is defined by 
means of signification. This is due to the fact that the 
understanding knows by means of the signification of 
concepts, and expresses what it knows by means of 
the signification of sounds, so that, without exception, 
all the instruments which we use for knowing and 
speaking are signs. Therefore, if the student of logic 
is to know his tools namely, terms and statements 
in an exact manner, it is necessary that he should also 
know what a sign is. The sign, therefore, admits of the 
following general definition: "That which represents 
something other than itself to a cognitive power." 1 

To better understand this definition, one must con- 
sider that there is a fourfold cause of knowledge name- 
ly, a productive, objective, formal, and instrumental 
cause. 2 The productive or efficient cause is the power 
itself which elicits an act of knowledge, for example, the 
eye, the ear, the understanding. The object is the thing 
which stimulates or toward which a cognition tends, 



Quia ergo tarn terminus quam oratio et 
propositio et reliqua instrumenta logicalia 
per significationem definiuntur, eo quod in- 
tellectus cognoscit per conceptus significa- 
tivos et loquitur per voces significativas, et 
in universum omnia instrumenta, quibus ad 
cognoscendum et loquendum utimur, signa 
sunt, ideo ut logicus exacte cognoscat in- 
strumenta sua, scilicet terminos et orationes, 
oportet, quod etiam cognoscat, quid sit sig- 
num. Signum ergo definitur in communi: 
Id, quod potentiae cognoscitivae aliquid 
aliud a se repraesentatw. 1 

Quae definitio ut melius innotescat, 
oportet considerare, quod est quadruplex 
causa cognitionis, scilicet efficiens, obiectiva, 
formalis et instrumentalist Efficiens est ip- 
sa potentia, quae elicit cognitionem, sicut 
oculus, auditus, intellectus. Obiectum est 
res, quae movet vel ad quam tendit cognitio, 

1 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "Ita tradimus definitionem signi, ut complectatur omnia signa, tarn 
formalia quam instrumental. Definitio enim quae communiter circumfertur: 'Signum est, quod praeter 
species, quas ingerit sensui, aliud facit in cognitionem venire, ' solum instrumentali signo competit."- 
"We formulate the definition of a sign thus so that it embraces all signs, formal as well as in- 
strumental. For the definition which is commonly circulated: 'A sign is anything that, besides 
the impressions it conveys to sense, makes another come into cognition/ applies only to an 
instrumental sign." See further Book I, Question 1, 116/1-13, Question 5, 199/33-201/27, the Se- 
quel to Book I, 216/7-217/27; and note 17 below. Also Book II, Question 1, 225/11-228/47. 

2 See Book II, Question 4, 262/5-263/22. 

26 [9a30-b34] 


as when I see a stone or a man. 3 The formal cause 
is the awareness itself whereby a power is rendered 
cognizant, as the sight itself of the stone or of the 
man. 4 The instrumental cause is the means by which 
the object is represented to the power, as a picture 
of Caesar represents Caesar. 5 The object is threefold, 
to wit, stimulative only, terminative only, both 
stimulative and terminative at once. An object that 
is only a stimulus is one that arouses a power to 
form an awareness not of the stimulating object 
itself, but of another object, as, for example, the 
picture of the emperor, which moves the power to 
know the emperor. 6 An object that is terminative on- 
ly is a thing known through an awareness produced 
by some other object, for example, the emperor 
known through the picture. 7 An object that is simul- 
taneously terminative and stimulative is one that 
arouses a power to form a cognition of the very 
object stimulating, as when the wall is seen in 

Thus, "making cognizant" has wider extension 
than does "representing," 8 and "representing" 
more than "signifying." 9 For to make cognizant is said 
of every cause concurring in the production of knowl- 
edge; and so it is said in four ways, namely, ef- 
fectively, objectively, formally, and instrumentally. 
Effectively, as of the power itself eliciting cognition 
and of the causes concurring in that production, as 
of God moving, the understanding acting or pro- 
ducing specifying forms, the inclinations of habit, etc. 
Objectively, as of the very thing which is known. For 
example, if I know a man, the man as an object 
makes himself known by presenting himself to the 
power. Formally, as of the awareness itself, which, 
as a form, makes the power know. Instrumentally, 
as of the very medium or means bearing object to 
power, as the picture of the emperor conveys the em- 
peror to the understanding as a medium, 10 and this 
means we call the instrument. 11 To represent is said 
of each factor which makes anything become present 
to a power, and so is said in three ways, namely, ob- 
jectively, formally, and instrumentally. For an object 

ut cum video lapidem vel hominem. 3 For- 
malis est ipsa notitia, qua redditur potentia 
cognoscens, ut visio ipsa lapidis vel homi- 
nis. 4 Instrumentalis est medium, per quod 

5 obiectum repraesentatur potentiae, sicut i- 
mago exterior Caesaris repraesentat Caesar- 
em. 5 Obiectum est triplex, scilicet motivum 
tantum, terminativum tantum, motivum et 
terminativum simul. Motivum tantum est, 

10 quod movet potentiam ad formandam noti- 
tiam non sui, sed alterius, sicut imperatoris 
imago, quae movet ad cognoscendum im- 
peratorem. 6 Terminativum tantum est res 
cognita per notitiam ab alio obiecto produc- 

15 tarn, sicut imperator cognitus per imagi- 
nem. 7 Terminativum et motivum simul, 
quod movet potentiam ad formandam cogni- 
tionem sui, sicut quando paries in se vide- 

20 Igitur facere cognoscere latius patet quam 
repraesentare, 8 et repraesentare quam signi- 
ficare. 9 Nam. facere cognoscere dicitur de omni 
concurrente ad cognitionem; et sic dicitur 
quadrupliciter, scilicet effective, obiective, 

25 f ormaliter et instrumentaliter . Effective, 
ut de ipsa potentia eliciente cognitionem et 
de causis ad earn concurrentibus, ut de Deo 
movente, intellectu agente seu producente 
species, habitu adiuvante etc . Obiective, 

30 ut de ipsa re, quae cognoscitur. V. g. si cog- 
nosce hominem, homo ut obiectum facit cog- 
noscere seipsum praesentando se potentiae. 
Formaliter, utde ipsa notitia, quae tam- 
quam forma reddit cognoscentem . I n s t r u- 

35 m e n t a 1 i t e r , ut de ipso medio deferente 
obiectum ad potentiam, ut imago impera- 
toris defert imperatorem ad intellectum quasi 
medium, 10 et hoc medium vocamus instru- 
mentum. 11 Repraesentare dicitur de omni eo, 

40 quo aliquid fit praesens potentiae, et sic dic- 
tur tripliciter, scilicet obiective, formaliter et 
instrumentaliter. Obiectum enim reprae- 

3 See 

4 See 

5 See 

6 See 

7 See 

8 See 

9 See 

10 See 

11 See 

Book I, Question 4, 166/4-168/48, 180/10-181/14. 

Book II, Question 1, 223/7-224/19, 224/29-225/10; and Question 2, 240/1 ff. 

Book I, Question 2, 135/7-11; Question 5, 201/28-203/32. 

esp. Book I, Question 4, 169/1-173/38, esp. 172/44-46; and 181/15-185/29. 

esp. Book I, Question 4, 173/39-180/7, 185/30-192/14. 

Book I, Question 1, 124/19-39. 

Book I, Question 1, 116/23-117/17, 122/16-124/18; and the Sequel to Book I, 219/29-48. 

Book I, Question 1, esp. 124/42-127/6, and note 25, p. 125; and 128/7-131/7. 

Book I, Question 5, 203/15-32. 


[9b34-10a26] 27 

such as the wall represents itself objectively, an 
awareness represents formally, a footprint 12 instru- 
mentally. To signify is said of that by which some- 
thing distinct from itself becomes present, and so 
is said in only two ways, namely, formally and in- 

Hence arises the twofold division of the sign. For 
insofar as signs are ordered to a power, they are divid- 
ed into formal and instrumental signs; 13 but insofar 
as signs are ordered to something signified, they are 
divided according to the cause of that ordering into 
natural and stipulative and customary. 14 A formal 
sign 15 is the formal awareness which represents of 
itself, not by means of another. An instrumental 
sign 16 is one that represents something other than 
itself from a pre-existing cognition of itself as an ob- 
ject, as the footprint of an ox represents an ox. And 
this definition is usually given for signs generally. 17 
A natural sign 18 is one that represents from the 
nature of a thing, independently of any stipulation 
and custom whatever, 19 and so it represents the 
same for all, 20 as smoke signifies a fire burning. A 
stipulated sign 21 is one that represents something 
owing to an imposition by the will of a 
community, 22 like the linguistic expression "man." 
A customary sign is one that represents from use 
alone without any public imposition, as napkins 
upon the table signify a meal. 23 We will treat at 
length all of these matters pertaining to the nature 
and division of signs in the first two Books of our 
Treatise on Signs. 24 





sentat se obiective, ut paries, notitia re- 
praesentat formaliter, vestigium 12 i n s t r u- 
mentaliter. Significare dicitur de eo, quo fit 
praesens aliquid distinctum a se, et sic solum 
dicitur dupliciter, scilicet formaliter et instru- 

Hinc nascitur duplex divisio signi. Nam 
qua parte signum ordinatur ad potentiam, 
dividitur in signum formale et instrumen- 
tale; 13 quatenus vero ordinatur ad signatum, 
dividitur penes causam ordinantem illud in 
naturale et ad placitum et ex consuetudine. 14 
Signum formale 15 est formalis notitia, 
quae seipsa, non mediante alio, repraesentat. 
Signum instrumentale 16 est, quod ex prae- 
existente cognitione sui aliquid aliud a se re- 
praesentat, sicut vestigium bovis repraesentat 
bovem. Et haec definitio solet tradi commun- 
iter de signo . 17 Signum naturale 18 est, quod 
ex natura rei repraesentat quavis impositione 
et consuetudine remota; 19 et sic repraesentat 
idem apud omnes, 20 ut fumus ignem. Sig- 
num ad placitum, 21 quod repraesentat ali- 
quid ex impositione voluntatis per publicam 
auctoritatem, 22 ut vox homo. Signum ex con- 
suetudine , quod ex solo usu repraesentat 
sine publica impositione, sicut mappae supra 
mensam significant prandium. 23 De his omni- 
bus, quae ad naturam et divisionem signorum 
spectant, late agimus in Tractatu de Signis, 
Libro Primo et Secundo. 24 

12 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "vel imago" "or an image." 

13 The basis of this division is not as straightforward as first here appears: see Book I, Ques- 
tion 2, 145/10-28 with 143/8-20, Question 3, 161/45-162/21 with 163/12-164/12, Question 5, 202/19-22 
with 201/28-202/8; Book II, Question 1, 238/28-45 with 235/15-25, and 229/24-38. 

14 See esp. Book II, Questions 5 and 6. 

15 See Book II, Question 2, and references in notes 4, 10, and 13 above. 

16 See references in notes 5, 10, 11, and 13 above; also Book I, Question 4, 172/44-6, 

17 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "sed non convenit nisi signo instrumental!" "but it applies only 
to an instrumental sign." 

18 See esp. Book I, Question 2, 133/13ff., and Question 6, 205/35-209/32, 210/36-215/5. 

19 See esp. Book III, Question 4, 335/23-39. 

20 See Book II, Question 6, 283/23-32. 

21 See esp. Book II, Questions 5 and 6. 

22 Poinsot nowhere explicitly develops this notion of "public authority" ("will of a commu- 
nity"), but it seems to involve in the end nothing more than the acceptance by another person 
of one person's usage of a sign for given purposes. Thus any stipulation is public in principle, 
and becomes public in fact through the mere tacit sanction of its use in given contexts. "Public 
authority," thus, could be rendered as "a socially structured human intention." Cf. Book II, 
Questions 5 and 6. 

23 See esp. Book II, Question 6, 278/lff. 

24 The original text reads here: ". . . in Logica q. 21. et 22." 



Some Divisions of Terms 


De Quibusdam Divisionibus Terminorum 

The first division of terms is into mental, vocal, and 
written terms. A mental term is the awareness or con- 
cept from which a simple proposition is made. 1 A 
vocal term was defined in chapter 1 above. 2 A writ- 
ten term is a mark signifying by stipulation, from 
which a simple proposition is made. 

The mental term, if we attend to its various es- 
sential kinds, is divided according to the objects 
which differentiate the modes of awareness. And so 
in the present discussion we are not treating of 
the division of those essential kinds of term, but 
only of certain general conditions of apprehensions 
or of concepts whereby various ways of know- 
ing are distinguished. And note that it is simple 
awareness that is divided here, that is, aware- 
ness pertaining only to the first operation of 
the mind; for we are treating of the division 
of mental terms, but a term looks to the first 
operation. Whence in this division of awareness, 
any awareness pertaining to discourse or to com- 
position is not included; for none of these is 
a term or simple apprehension. And similarly, 

Prima divisio termini est in mentalem, 
vocalem et scriptum. M e n t a 1 i s est notitia 
seu conceptus, ex quo simplex conficitur pro- 
positio. 1 Vocalis supra est definitus cap. 

5 I. 2 Scriptus est soiptura ad platitum signi- 

ficans, ex qua simplex conficitur propositio. 

Terminus mentalis, si attendamus ad diver- 

sas species essentiales eius, dividitur penes 

obiecta, a quibus species notitiarum sumitur. 

w Et sic non agimus de divisione illorum in 
praesenti, sed solum agimus de quibusdam 
generalibus conditionibus notitiarum seu 
conceptuum, quibus distinguuntur varii 
modi cognoscendi. Et nota, dividi hie noti- 

15 tiam simplicem, id est pertinentem tantum 
ad primam operationem; agimus enim de 
divisione termini mentalis, terminus autem 
ad primam operationem spectat. Unde in 
hac divisione notitiarum non includitur ali- 

20 qua notitia pertinens ad discursum aut ad 
compositionem; nulla enim istarum est ter- 
minus vel simplex apprehensio. Et similiter 

1 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "Conceptus est ilia imago, quam intra nos formamus, cum aliquid 
intelligimus" " A concept is that image which we form within ourselves when we understand 
something." See, in the Treatise on Signs proper, esp. Book I, Question 1, 132/47-133/12, Ques- 
tion 3, 164/13-165/8; and Book II, Question 2, esp. notes 17 and 27. 

2 at 24/8-9, as "a sound that signifies through stipulation." 


[10bl5-llal4] 29 

all practical awareness, and all awareness bespeak- 
ing an order to the will, is removed, because the will 
is not moved by the simple apprehension of a term, 
but by a composition or judgment concerning the ap- 
propriateness of a thing, as we will say in the books 
Concerning the Soul. 3 

Therefore awareness, which is a simple apprehen- 
sion, or the mental term, is divided first into intuitive 
and abstractive awareness. 4 This division includes not 
only intellective awareness, but also the awareness 
of the external senses, which is always intuitive, and 
of the internal senses, which is sometimes intuitive, 
sometimes abstractive. An intuitive awareness is the 
awareness of a thing physically present. And I say 
"of a thing physically present," not "of a thing 
presented to a given cognitive power"; for "to be 
physically present" pertains to a thing in itself as it 
is independent of the cognitive power, whereas "to 
be presented" pertains to the thing as it is the object 
of the very power, which is something common to 
every awareness. An abstractive awareness is an 
awareness of an absent thing, which is understood 
in a way oposed to an intuitive awareness. 

Apprehension is divided second, on the side of 
the concept, into ultimate and nonultimate concepts. 5 
An ultimate concept is a concept of a thing signified 
by means of a term; for example, the thing which is 
a man is signified by means of the linguistic expres- 
sion "man." A nonultimate or mediative concept is 
the concept of a term itself as signifying, for exam- 
ple, the concept of this term "man." 

Third, concepts are divided into direct and re- 
flexive. 6 A reflexive concept is one by which we 
know ourselves knowing, and thus has for an object 
some act or concept or capacity within us. A direct 
concept is one by which we know any object indepen- 
dent of our concept, yet without reflecting on our 
cognition, as when a [particular] stone or man is 

removetur omnis notitia practica et quae dicit 
ordinem ad voluntatem, quia voluntas non 
movetur a simplici apprehensione termini, 
sed a compositione seu iudicio de conven- 

5 ientia rei, ut dicemus in libro de Anima. 3 

Igitur notitia, quae est simplex apprehen- 

sio, seu terminus mentalis PRIMO dividitur 

in notitiam intuitivam et abstractivam. 4 

Quae divisio non solum amplectitur notitiam 

w intellectivam, sed etiam sensuum exter- 
norum, quae semper sunt notitiae intuitivae, 
et internorum, quae aliquando sunt in- 
tuitivae, aliquando abstractivae. Notitia in- 
tuit i v a est notitia rei praesentis. Et dico rei 

is praesentis, non praesentatae ipsi potentiae; 
esse enim praesens pertinet ad rem in seip- 
sa, ut est extra potentiam, esse praesentatam 
convenit rei, ut obiectae ipsi potentiae, quod 
omni notitiae commune est. Notitia ab- 

20 stractiva est notitia rei absentis, quae op- 
posito modo intelligitur ad intuitivam. 

SECUNDO dividitur notitia ex parte con- 
ceptus in conceptum ultimatum et non 
ultimatum. 5 Conceptus ultimatus est con- 

25 ceptus rei significatae per terminum, ut res, 
quae est homo, est significata per vocem, 
,,homo". Conceptus non ultimatus seu 
medius est conceptus ipsius termini ut 
significantis, ut conceptus huius termini 

30 ,,homo". 

TERTIO dividitur conceptus in directum et 
reflexum. 6 Reflexu-s est, quo cognosci- 
mus nos cognoscere, atque ita habet pro 
obiecto aliquem actum vel conceptum aut 

35 potentiam intra nos. Directus est, quo 
cognoscimus aliquod obiectum extra concep- 
tum nostrum, nee reflectimus supra cogni- 
tionem nostram, ut cum cognoscitur lapis vel 

3 Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 12. art. 1. et 2. 

4 This distinction forms the subject matter for Book III, Questions 1 and 2 of the Treatise 
on Signs. 

5 This is the subject matter of Book III, Question 4, of the Treatise proper. 

6 This is the subject of Book III, Question 3. 

Third Semiotic Marker 

These opening two and a half chapters of the first of the introductory logic 
or Summulae books contain all the terms that form the subject of the discussion 
in the Treatise on Signs to follow in the Second Part of the Logic. This illustrates 
how literally exact was Poinsot's observation "To the Reader" above that the 
problems of the semiotic foundations of the simplest awareness are latent in 
the very beginning of logical and philosophical study. 

Hewing to tradition at the level of introductory discussion, Poinsot writes 
the Summulae from the terminist point of view, but with awareness of the 
semiotic foundations, thus: 


First Summulae Book, chapters 1-3: 

Chapter 1 

22/1-24/34 \ 
(=7al-8b44) \ 

Chapter 3 

/ 28/1-29/39 
/ (=10a28-llaU) 

Basic Standpoint of the 
Ars Logica as a traditional 


Chapter 2 


New Standpoint required 
for a proper Treatise on 

Here the semiotic view is interruptive rather than continuative, and nothing 
shows this more plainly than the tedious, recondite list of 25/14-27/6, wherein 
are enumerated the complex of terms involved in the germination of the 
"definitio signi" demurely proposed (25/11-13) to replace the definition that 
has served as the principal basis of semiotic discussion in the Latin world since 
the fifth century, namely, the definition proposed by St. Augustine (27/14-18, 
along with note on text from the first Lyons edition of 1663). This last point, 
the need for a new definition at the base of semiotic understanding, indeed, 
will become the point of departure for the Treatise on Signs proper (see below, 
Book 1, 116/1-13). Here again the revolutionary character of his thought breaks 
through Poinsot's own conservative designs, as the standpoint of his Treatise 
the semiotic standpoint for the second time compels him to criticize in its en- 
tirety the Latin tradition of philosophical understanding he seeks to preserve 
and extend. 


A R T I S 




Libros Perihcrmcnias,& Poftcriorum, 


5. T H O M A 9 LISBONIBNS1, R JD ! M I i 

fr*jt$(*ttru>* , Suprewi SenatiuJUci Qt**/ttr* f in Comflnttnfi 
;'.i public* Tbtolo&itproftjbrt m Cttladr* 

Ttom* Rtgtntt. 

* diclio cparta ab Authors rcuifa,& cm:ti Jata. 


IK K. * ./ 



"* v^Ctt ac Efpcriofa Frascif<avM&dc Frtncifco 

Title page from the 1640 Madrid edition of the Second Part of the Ars Logica, containing the 
Treatise on Signs. This was the last edition issued in Poinsot's lifetime, and it is here that he singles 
out the Treatise as an independent whole and gives it its title. See discussions below, pp. 404-411, 
445-446. Photograph courtesy of Norma Elia Cantu. 

Secunda Pars 


In Isagogen Porphirii, 

Libros Perihermenias 


Joao Poinsot 



The Second Part of the 


Covering the Isagoge of Porphyry, 

of Aristotle 
the Categories 

Books on Interpretation 

Posterior Analytics 

Joao Poinsot 




Oppignoratam fidem meam in emittenda secunda Logicae parte, editione 
hac libero, legentium utilitati felicius obstrictam, avidius vinculatam. Certe quod 
in me fuit, addiscentium commodo intentus, quibus in longum disputatae quaes- 
tiones non parum impedimento sunt et taedio, fateor sic me ista tractasse, ut 
accuratioribus oculis haud quaquam praeluxisse praesumam, at nee tardioribus 
offudisse caliginem, illud perpetuo curans, ut quanta brevitate fieri possit, quid 
tenendum sit, aperiatur, ne variis ambagibus disputationem terendo dum 
aliorum placita displicent, sententiam propriam suspendamus. Optime enim 
admonuit Ambrosius praefatione in Psalmos 2 faciliora esse, quae brevius ex- 
plicantur. Praecipuam autem scriptoris intentionem praesertim in istis prioribus 
scientiis enucleandis in eo sitam arbitror, ut facilitatem potius exhibeat quam 
eruditionem et multiplicem doctrinae paraturam. 

Quod in prima Logicae parte promisimus de quaestionibus pluribus, quae 
ibi tractari solent, hie expediendis, plane solvimus, excepto quod iustis de causis 
tractatum de signis, pluribus nee vulgaribus difficultatibus scaturientem, ne 
hie iniectus aut sparsus gravaret tractatus alio satis per se graves, seorsum eden- 
dum duximus loco commentarii in libros Perihermenias simul cum quaestionibus 
in libros Posteriorum, et pro commodiori libri usu a tractatu Praedicamentorum 

Quod reliquum Philosophiae naturalis pro integro artium cursu complen- 
do desideratur, simili stilo ac labore in diem evulgandum eadem fide iterum 
obligata devovemus. Vale. 

Madrid, Spain 


To THE READER OF 1640: l 

With the appearance of this book I fulfill the pledge I gave of publishing 
the second part of Logic, an event made the more pleasant by its ties to the 
advantage of the readers. Aiming at the advantage of those who are learners 
and find prolix disputation of questions tedious and no small hindrance, I claim 
to have so handled the subject that I would by no means presume to have an- 
ticipated those of quicker perception, but for the slower wits I have not raised 
a fog. I strive always to disclose with what brevity I can the viewpoint to be 
held, lest we tiresomely hold forth on obscure opinions we do not consider 
sound while leaving in ambiguity what we do think is the case. Ambrose 
counsels well in his preface to the Psalms 2 when he says that "matters become 
easier when they are explained in brief." Especially in these beginning courses 
of study, I think the chief intention of a writer should be more to disclose the 
ease of the matter than the learning and complex fabric of his field. 

We have now covered as we promised the several questions traditionally 
dealt with in the first part of Logic, except that, for good reasons, the treatise 
on signs, swarming with so many and extraordinary difficulties, and in order 
to free the introductory texts of the pervasive presence of its uncommon dif- 
ficulties, we have decided to publish separately in place of a commentary on 
the books On Interpretation and together with questions on the books of Posterior 
Analytics; and for the more convenient use of the work, we have separated the 
treatise on signs from the discussion of the Categories. 

What remains to be discussed of natural philosophy in order to complete 
the course of studies in the Arts we pledge ourselves to treat in the same style 
and manner. Farewell. 

Madrid, Spain 

1 Auctoris praefatio in 4. editionem secundae partis artis Logicae. Author's preface to the 4th edi- 
tion of the Second Part of the Ars Logica (Madrid, 1640). 

2 Migne P.L. XIV. 967 B. 


Fourth Semiotic Marker 

This "Word to the Reader," entitling the Treatise as a single tractate, was 
added by Poinsot to the fourth separate edition of the second part of his Logic 
published in Madrid in 1640, eight years after the first publication of this part 
at Alcala in 1632. It reiterates in even stronger terms the claim of special im- 
portance and novelty made for the Treatise on Signs in the original "Word to 
the Reader" of 1631 that announced the work as forthcoming. This retrospect 
of 1640 thus amounts to a historical reissuing of the earlier claim for the unity 
of the Tractatus de signis as something new in the entire Latin West, as we now 
see, the first systematic semiotic. 

It reaffirms, in short, in as clear terms as one could wish, the virtual autonomy 
the Treatise enjoys relative to the other parts of the Logic and Cursus Philosophicus, 
of which the Logic comprises but two of the five original volumes issued be- 
tween 1631 and 1635, and all written, as Poinsot here troubles to note, "in the 
same style and manner" and as part of "a complete course of philosophical 
study in the Faculty of Arts." For of all the many parts comprising the five 
volumes of the Cursus Philosophicus, it is certainly striking that the Treatise is 
the only part that Poinsot, who does not indulge in wordy advertising, expressly 
singles out for mention as unique and "published separately" in his other- 
wise quite traditional selection of materials and arrangement of topics. 

The virtual autonomy tacitly claimed here for the Treatise by its author is 
precisely what the present editor and translator claims to have realized in the 
present edition, the first edition of the work so constructed in the long history 
of the Ars Logica, the second part of which has undergone ten Latin publica- 
tions since its original appearance in 1632. (The 1640 Madrid edition, the fourth 
of these ten printings, was the last before its author's death.) 

It is worthy of note historically that Poinsot places the Treatise on a footing 
of at least equal importance to the discussion of the Posterior Analytics, a work 
which, though generally neglected in the modern and contemporary develop- 
ments of logic, was keenly investigated and developed in the medieval-renais- 
sance traditions of logic and philosophy which were Poinsot's privileged heritage 
as a major professor in a major center of the Iberian university world of the 
early seventeenth century. 

Perhaps most important to note, however, is the fact that Poinsot identifies 
the subject of semiotic as lying at the heart and foundation of the problematic 
of formal logic, that kind of problematic presented in the Prior Analytics and, 
according to Bochenski (1961: 2-4), the constant central problematic of Logic 




throughout all its phases in the ages of Western thought down to the present 
time. No observation could better bring out again the revolutionary import with 
which the semiotic perspective first systematically essayed by Poinsot is preg- 
nant. The merit of Poinsot 's treatment, moreover, is to make clear that semiotic 
lies at the foundations of logic precisely because and inasmuch as logic con- 
stitutes a mode of knowledge (cognitio), for it is the foundations of knowledge 
as such and in its entirety simple awareness that are the first province of 
semiotic and its unique vantage for grasping the unity of the life of the mind. 
We arrive now at last at Poinsot's introduction to the Treatise on Signs proper. 


Super Libros 


Remarks on Aristotle's Books on Interpretation, 

the Relation of the Treatise on Signs to the Aristotelian Tradition, 

Its Philosophical Justification, 
and Its Presuppositions within the Ars Logica 

The title Perihermenias is best translated "On Inter- 
pretation." In these books, Aristotle treats principally 
of the statement and proposition. To this end, it was 
found necessary to treat first of their parts, which are 
the noun and the verb, and then of their properties, such 
as opposition, equivalence, contingency, possibility, and 
the like. These matters we have covered in the Summulae 
books; for all of them are ordered and pertain to Prior 
Analytics [i.e., the analysis of discourse in terms of its 
logical elements and their interrelation]. 

Nevertheless, because these matters are all treated 
in those books by way of interpretation and significa- 
tion, since indeed the universal instrument of Logic is 
the sign, from which all its instruments are constituted, 
therefore, lest the foundation of the expositions of logical 
form go unexamined, the project of the present work 
is to treat of these things which were introduced in the 
Summulae books for explaining the nature and divisions 
of signs, but which have been set aside for special treat- 
ment here. For the grasp of beginners is not proportioned 
to these questions about signs. Now, however, in this 
work, they may be authentically introduced, following a 

Libri Perihermenias sic vocantur quasi 
dicas ,,de Interpretatione". In his agit Ari- 
stoteles de oratione et propositione princi- 
paliter. Ad quod necesse fuit prius agere de 

5 earum partibus, quae stint nomen et verbum. 
Deinde de earum proprietatibus, quales sunt 
oppositio, aequipollentia, contingentia, pos- 
sibilitas et alia similia. De his egimus in libris 
Summularum; haec enim omnia ordinantur 

20 et pertinent ad prioristicam resolutionem. 

Sed tamen, quia haec omnia tractantur 

in his libris per modum interpretationis et 

significationis, commune siquidem Logicae 

instrumentum est signum, quo omnia eius 

15 instrumenta constant, idcirco visum est in 
praesenti pro doctrina horum librorum ea 
tradere, quae ad explicandam naturam 
et divisiones signorum in Summulis 
insinuata, hue vero reservata sunt. Nee enim 

20 tironum captui quaestiones istae de signis 
proportionatae sunt. Nunc autem in hoc loco 
genuine introducuntur, post notitiam habi- 

1 The two Greek words, "nepi tp\ir\veiaq,," were early conflated by the Latins into a single 
word (Zigliara, 1882), as we see instanced here. Conversely, Aristotle's work itself of this title, 
which is a single book in the Greek, was commonly divided by the Latin interpreters into two 
books, the first comprising chapters 1-9, the second chapters 10-15 (Spiazzi, 1955: xi). A great 
deal of philosophical history pertinent to semiotics in the Latin age is signaled by these seeming 
vagaries: see my "The Relation of Logic to Semiotics," Semiotica 353/4 (1981), esp. note 23. 


[642a26-b3] 39 

consideration of mind-dependent being 2 and of the cate- 
gory of relation, 3 on which considerations this inquiry 
concerning the nature and definable essence of signs 
principally depends. 4 

That the inquiry into signs might be the more clearly 
and fruitfully conducted, it seemed best to devote to it 
a separate treatise, rather than to include it in the dis- 
cussion of the category of relation, in order to avoid 
making the discussion of relation prolix and tedious 
through the inclusion of extraneous matter, and also to 
avoid a confused and over-brief consideration of the sign. 

Concerning the rationale proper to signs, therefore, 
two things present themselves as the principal objects 
of controversy. The first concerns the nature and defini- 
tion of a sign in general; the second concerns its division, 
and each divided member in particular. In Book I 5 of this 
Treatise we put in order the first of these matters, the se- 
cond we put in order in Books II and III. 6 


tam de ente rationis 2 et praedicamento re- 
lationis, 3 a quibus principaliter dependet in- 
quisitio ista de natura et quidditate signor- 
um. 4 

Ut autem clarius et uberius tractaretur, 
visum est seorsum de hoc edere tractatum, 
nee solum ad praedicamentum relationis il- 
lud reducere, turn ne illius praedicamenti 
disputatio extraneo hoc tractatu prolixior 
redderetur et taediosior, turn ne istius con- 
sideratio confusior esset et brevior. 

Igitur circa ipsam rationem signorum 
duo principalia occurrunt dispu- 
tanda: Primum de natura et definitione 
signi in communi, secundum de divisione eius 
et de quolibet in particulari. Et primum ex- 
pediemus in hoc libro, 5 secundum in 
sequent!. 6 

2 Included here as the First Preamble to the Treatise. 

3 Included here as the Second Preamble to the Treatise. 

4 Why the discussion of signs principally depends upon the prior notions of mind-dependent 
being and of relation, and particularly upon that of relation i.e., what is the implicit content 
of 38/21-39/81 have set forth at some length in " 'Semiotic' as the Doctrine of Signs," Ars Sem- 
eiotica 1/3 (1977), 41-68. 

5 In the original Latin: "in hac quaestione," i.e., Logica 2. p. q. 21. 

6 Book III of the Treatise should be regarded (as Reiser has suggested in his "Tabula Synoptica 
Totius Logicae," p. XVII) as an extended treatment of the working of the formal sign defined 
and defended in the opening Questions of Book II. See Appendix B below. Hence the addition 
of "et notitiis" to "tractatum de signis" in the 1631 Word to the Reader above; and the reference 
in the Latin here (". . . in sequenti") to Books II and III as a unit. 

Fifth Semiotic Marker 

These remarks are in effect Poinsot's Foreword to the Treatise on Signs proper. 
They confirm what we have already gathered from the "Words to the Reader" 
of 1631 and 1640; in particular they confirm the foundational character of the Treatise 
relative to the logical tradition already inferred from the Second Prologue above. 

But in addition, these remarks expressly identify those other parts of the Ars 
Logica required for understanding the doctrine of signs Poinsot undertakes to 
establish namely, the parts discussing mind-dependent being and relation as 
a category, type, or "kind" of mind-independent being. Moreover, of the two 
discussions presupposed, Poinsot makes it clear that the discussion of relation 
as a distinct variety of being is the more crucial one, from the fact that he con- 
sidered incorporating the discussion of the sign into his discussion of relation 
(39/6-11). This inference is confirmed by the discovery the careful reader makes 
that the possibility of mind-dependent being is owing to the very same unique 
feature of relation as that upon which Poinsot ultimately bases his account of signi- 
fying, namely, the indifference of relation to the subjective ground or cause of 
its existence. It is because relation alone of the varieties of mind-independent ex- 
istence is essentially unaffected when it is transferred into a state of dependency 
upon knowledge and cognitive life that such a thing as mind-dependent being 
of any sort is possible in the first place, and it is this same fact that ultimately 
accounts for the possibility of semiosis. Thus, the understanding of signifying 
in Poinsot's doctrine depends upon an adequate understanding of mind-dependent 
being and relation, but the understanding of mind-dependent being in turn 
depends upon the understanding of relation. It is in the theory of relative being, 
therefore, that Poinsot ultimately locates the foundations of semiotic, as the opening 
question of the Treatise proper will make abundantly clear. 

The relevant portions of Poinsot's prior discussion first of mind-dependent 
being and then of relation comprise all that is necessary to translate the virtual 
autonomy of the Treatise on Signs from the Cursus Philosophicus into an actual in- 
dependence. Accordingly, we here include the necessary parts from those prior 
discussions as the First and Second Preambles, respectively, in this first indepen- 
dent edition of the Treatise on Signs. This completes the series of comments suffi- 
cient to show the reader how the rationale of all editing in this first edition derives 
from Poinsot's own intentions, and does violence neither to the original Ars Logica 
nor to the now freed Treatise on Signs originally embedded therein. Reserving the 
main discussion of editing and translation to the end of the work, we are now 
in a position to let Poinsot begin the exposition of his doctrina signorum proper. 


From the Second Part of the 





In Two Preambles and Three books, 
with Appendices 

Praeambulum Primum: 


First Preamble: 


*In the original Latin: "Quaestio II. De Ente Rationis Logico, Quod Est Secunda Intentio. " Logica 
2. p.: "Question 2. On Logical Mind-Dependent Being, Which Second Intention Is." 




In beginning to treat of Logic, pedagogy requires 
is to start from more universal considerations. We 
>egin the discussion with being as existing depen- 
lently upon apprehension, not indeed precisely accord- 
ng as it is opposed to being as existing independently 
>f apprehension and is something common to all mind- 
lependent beings (for this sense pertains to the meta- 
>hysician 2 ) but as dependence upon apprehension is 

Ut obiectum seu materiam Logicae 
tractare incipiamus, ipso ordine doctrinae 
oportet ab universalioribus incipere. Et 
sic disputationem inchoamus ab ente 
rationis, non quidem prout praecise op- 
ponitur enti reali et est commune om- 
nibus entibus rationis, sic enim pertinet 
ad metaphysicum, 2 sed ut est commune 

1 These two preliminary paragraphs have no separate title in Reiser's edition. 

2 Here is the opening occasion to comment on a conflict among the school philosophers of the seventeenth 
century that is of the first importance to the doctrine of signs, not only theoretically, but historically as well. 

Theoretically, the issue may be sharply drawn in terms of the opposed writings of Poinsot and the great Latin 
master of seventeenth-century philosophy, Francis Suarez (d. 1617). Suarez begins with a thesis fairly classical 
among the Aristotelians of medieval and renaissance times: "... diximus, objectum adaequatum et directum metaphysicae 
non esse ens commune ad reale et rationis, sed ad reals tantum" (Disputationes Metaphysicae, disp. 47, sect. 3, par. 3: 
"We categorically assert that the adequate and direct object of metaphysics is not being common to the mind- 
independent and mind-dependent orders, but being restricted to the mind-independent order entirely"). But he 
construes this thesis in a sense so strong as to be inimical to indeed, entirely destructive of the possibility of 
a foundational doctrine of signifying: "Ostendimus enim ens non solum non esse univocum ad ens reale et rationis, verum 
etiam non habere unum conceptum communem illis, etiam analogum, sed vel esse aequivocum, vel ad summum, analogum 
analogia proportionalitis" (ibid.: "For we will show not only that being is not univocal to the mind-independent 
and mind-dependent orders, but also that there is no concept common to the two, not even an analogous one; 
rather, any allegedly common concept is either equivocal, or, at the most, analogous by an analogy of propor- 
tionality"). Considering that, as Poinsot shows, it is precisely the essential univocity of relation in the two orders 
that creates, first, the very possibility of a mind-dependent order of being, and, consequently, the ground of semiosis 
among the higher animals, this view of Suarez as it applies to the particular case of relations removes entirely 
the possibility of working out a doctrine of signs: "Cum ergo relationes rationis non sint entia realia, et consequenter 
nee vera entia, . . . Addo praeterea, non posse habere univocam convenientiam cum relationibus realibus, si supponamus illas 
esse vera entia realia. . . . Ratio autem est, quia cum ens rationis nihil sit, non potest habere veram similitudinem ac convenien- 
tiam cum ente reali, in qua convenientia fundari solet univocatio et unitas conceptus; ergo non potest aliquis verus conceptus 
et essentialis esse communis enti reali et rationis. Et idea merito Soncin., 4 Metaph., q. 5 et 6. approbat dictum Hervaei (quan- 
quam errore typographi tribuatur Henrico), Quodl. 3, q. 1, articulo primo, in fine, non magis posse ens esse univocum ad 
ens reale et rationis, quam sit homo ad hominem vivum et mortuum. Habet autem hoc dictum eamdem rationem veritatis 
in communi, et in tali ente, scilicet, relatione, quia sicut ens rationis non est verum ens, sed fictum, sic relatio rationis non 
est vera relatio, sed ficta . . . ""Since therefore mind-dependent relations are not beings independently of being 


common only to second intentions, which intentions per- solis secundis intentionibus, quae ad logi- 

tain to the logician. 3 cum spectant. 3 

Here, there are three considerations: First, what is this Circa quod triaconsideranda oc- 

mind-dependent being? 4 Second, how many such are currunt: Primum, quodnam sit hoc ens 

there? 5 Third, by what cause is it formed? 6 Prior to these s rationis; 4 secundum, quotuplex sit; 5 ter- 

considerations, however, to establish at least a rudimen- Hum, per quam causam formetur. 6 Prius 

tary notion of mind-dependent being in its opposition tamen, ut aliqua saltern imperfecta notitia 

to mind-independent being [i.e., as it pertains to Meta- entis rationis in communi habeatur, ali- 

physics], some features of the order of mind-dependent qua de ipso genere entis rationis prae- 

being as such must be examined. 7 w libanda sunt. 7 

known, and consequently not true beings, ... I state further that they cannot coincide univocally with mind- 
independent relations, if we suppose these latter to be true mind-independent beings. . . . The reason for this 
is that, since mind-dependent being is nothing, it cannot have a true similitude and coincidence with mind- 
independent being, on which coincidence the univocity and unity of a concept is customarily founded; therefore 
there can be no true and essential concept common to mind-independent and mind-dependent being. Thus Son- 
cinus, in his Metaphysical Questions, qq. 5 and 6, rightly approves the saying of Hervaeus (although the saying 
is attributed to Henricus because of a printer's error) in the third of his Questions at Random, toward the end of 
Article 1, that being can no more be univocal to mind-independent and mind-dependent being, than man can 
be univocal to a living man and a dead man. Yet this dictum has the same ground of truth in the case of common 
being [ens commune: being as such] and in this particular case or kind of being, namely, relation, because, just 
as mind-dependent being is not true but constructed or fictive being, so a mind-dependent relation is not a true 
but a fictive relation ..." (Disputationes Metaphysicae, disp. 47, sect. 3, par. 3. Cf. Poinsot, Second Preamble, 
Article 2, esp. 93/17-96/32). 

This view forecloses the possibility of a doctrine of signs, for, as Poinsot remarks (Book I, Question 1, 117/28-118/18, 
119/40-48), the fundamental problem for the semiotician is precisely that of finding a category and vocabulary for 
explaining the coming together in signification of the distinct orders of what is and what is not independent of 
human understanding. And it is precisely the essential univocity of relations in these two orders, so far as awareness 
is concerned, that makes such an account possible (see esp. Book I, Question 2, 149/41-151/21, Question 4, 
187/28-190/24, and notes 13, 33, and 35 thereto; Book II, Question 1, 235/36-236/46, Question 5, esp. 270/37-271/21 
and the Second Preamble, Article 2, 93/17-96/36). Cf. Doyle, 1983, for details of Suarez's view in this regard. 

The historical importance of Poinsot's and Suarez's opposition on this point of doctrine lies in the fact that 
it was the teaching of Suarez in the Disputationes Metaphysicae that became the philosophia recepta so far as Latin 
Aristotelianism was to be imbibed into the newly forming national language traditions of modern philosophy, 
particularly in France, the Netherlands, and Germany. Quite simply: a coherent doctrine of signs is impossible 
along the theoretical lines laid down by Suarez and essentially followed on the subject of relations, as Weinberg 
(1965) has shown, without exception by Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Kant, 
i.e., by modern thought up to Hegel, who again introduces an understanding of relation compatible with semiotics 
(and semiosis!). Because of this striking fact, and the historical juxtaposition of Poinsot's and Suarez's opposed 
accounts of relation in the milieu of the seventeenth century, I will cite at strategic points throughout the Treatise 
the doctrinal conflict between these two figures so far as concerns the foundations of semiotic in the relative, to 
facilitate not only a grasp of the doctrine Poinsot adumbrates, but also, and especially, future research into the 
early Latin roots of modern thought as the reconstruction of philosophy along semiotic lines goes forward. Suffice 
it to add that these notes are heuristic in design only, and in no sense substitute for a complete, detailed examina- 
tion of the full ramifications of the differing accounts of relative being afforded by these two thinkers as it affects 
all that concerns the doctrine of signs and its prospective significance for reconstructing the history of philosophy. 
For example, the interested reader should compare Suarez's disp. 54, "De entibus rationis," with the present Preamble 
to see how completely one's account of mind-dependent being is affected by one's account of relative being, whereas 
my notes will be restricted to the latter, foundational differences. 

3 Logica 2. p. q. 27 "De unitate et distinction scientiarum" ("On the unity and distinction of the sciences"), 
art. 1., Reiser ed. Vol. I 826b28-40: ". . . Logica, sumit suam unitatem ab abstractione, quam habet similem quidem 
Metaphysicae, sed diversam ab ea, quia est solum abstractio negativa. Versatur enim circa intentiones rationis, quatenus in- 
strumenta sunt speculandi; quae abstractio est entis rationis, non prout praecise opponitur enti reali in communi, sic enim 
secundario pertinet ad Metaphysicam, sed prout fundatur in rebus intellects, et a tali esse cognito rerum accipit abstractionem." 
"Logic derives its unity from the abstraction which it has similar indeed to that of Metaphysics, but different therefrom 
by the fact that it is only a negative abstraction. For it treats of intentions of reason to the extent they are instruments 
of speculative thought; which abstraction is of mind-dependent being not precisely according as it is opposed to 
mind-independent being in general, for in that sense it pertains secondarily to Metaphysics, but according as it 
is founded on things understood, and it is from such a cognized being of things that Logic takes abstraction." See 
further ibid., 824b45-825b35, esp. 825b6-21; and Deely, 1981, 1982, Winance, 1985, for general discussion. 

4 58/1-61/30, esp. 60/7-11. 

5 61/31-64/14, esp. 61/37-42 and 63/9-64/14. 

6 65/1-76/45, esp. 71/20-29, 66/47-51 and 73/17-74/4, 75/1-21. 

7 48/1-57/48. 

Sixth Semiotic Marker 

The reader should carefully note, for purposes of understanding Poinsot's 
Treatise, the contrast between the opening paragraph and the concluding 
sentence of Poinsot's explanation here of the "Order of the First Preamble." 
There are few sharper examples of the care demanded on a reader's part by 
the elliptical style in which Poinsot characteristically expresses developments 
in his doctrine. 

The opening paragraph, speaking strictly from the point of view of the Ars 
Logica as a traditional logical tract, makes the point that the full consideration 
of mind-dependent being does not fall within the purview of logic, since there 
are many types of mind-dependent being besides the one constituting the subject 
of formal logical studies. But Poinsot recurs in his final remark, the second 
sentence of the second paragraph, to the broader perspective of metaphysics 
already implicit in his opening remark (the first sentence of the first paragraph), 
by making the further, strictly foundational point that the sort of mind- 
dependent being of concern to the logician cannot be properly understood ex- 
cept as a contraction or specification of the complete notion, and therefore he 
devotes the entire First Article following to an expose of mind-dependent be- 
ing in its full amplitude, i.e., in what is common to the entire order of what 
exists dependency upon being apprehended in its opposition to what exists 
independently of being apprehended ("ens reale"). It is mind-dependent be- 
ing in this complete sense that is of import to the doctrine of signs, as well 
as in the more restricted, logical sense which will become the principal focus 
of the Second Article following. 

Hence the three steps indicated in the sentence beginning the second 
paragraph of the Ordo Praeambuli here do not at all correspond to the three Ar- 
ticles of the Preamble, as a casual reading of the opening paragraph might sug- 
gest. Rather, all three steps refer only to the last two of the Articles, and only 
indicate Poinsot's order of treatment as it covers mind-dependent being in the 
narrower sense, i.e., as it is proper to a tract in (then) traditional logic. 

The last of the three Articles comprising this First Preamble, it should be 
further noted, though within the perspective of the special treatment of Arti- 
cle 2 as concerned to set off the mind-dependent being of logic, functions also 
semiotically as an amplification of the general (metaphysical) perspective of 
Article 1. The reason for this is that, in order to explain the cause of the mind- 
dependent being constituting the object of logic as a science, which being is 
but a specific one among other varieties of mind-dependent being, Poinsot 



has to explain in general the contrast between mind-dependent being "material- 
ly" and "formally" considered, and this contrast proves to be nothing less than 
the contrast between mind-dependent being as it exists and functions zoo- 
semiotically that is, at the perceptual level common to men and beasts and 
mind-dependent being as it is able to be precised uniquely at the level of human 
understanding. The point is so fundamental for establishing the horizon and 
perspectives of the doctrine of signs that it must be underscored here at the 
very entrance to the doctrine's perhaps earliest systematic exposition. 

The "perceptual level common to men and the higher animals," in Poin- 
sot's tradition, is explained by the doctrine of internal and external sense (Poin- 
sot, 1635: Qq. IV-IX, incorporated into the textual notes arranged throughout 
the later parts of the Treatise, as explained in the "Editorial Afterword," pp. 
456, 466 n. 107, and 481-485; see also Deely, 1971a: 55-83); so that, in Article 
3 of this Preamble, as in Book II, Question 2, of the Treatise, whatever is said 
about the cognitive constructions or products of internal sense as such i.e., 
as these powers function in their own right, and not merely (as in human 
experience) as ordered to and permeated by the further constructions of in- 
tellectual apprehension applies equally to all animals capable of perception. 
It is, thus, because internal sense knows through formal signs (Book II, Ques- 
tion 2) and forms "materially" mind-dependent beings (First Preamble, Arti- 
cle 3) that animals besides human beings develop social structures based on 
custom (Book I, Question 6; Book II, Question 6). By contrast, the restricted 
variety or species of mind-dependent being identified in Article 2 of this Pream- 
ble as "second intentions," as a formal variety of mind-dependent being by 
no means the only such variety, but the only one directly concerning tradi- 
tional logic is found only in intellectual apprehension as it is proper to human 
beings, owing to their species-specific power of reason or "understanding"; 
yet internal-sense powers apprehend and employ for practical purposes (e.g., 
deception among animals) many varieties of mind-dependent being, in perfect 
indifference to the fact that such employments have no status (are non ens) in 
the world as it is independently of apprehension, as Poinsot's analysis so skill- 
fully and repeatedly shows over the course of this third Article. In short, 
everything that is there said about mind-dependent being as formed by and 
functioning within the purview of internal sense must be taken zoosemiotic- 
ally, as applying to all animals capable of perception, and not just anthro- 
posemiotically, as is demanded by the narrower remarks on the "second in- 
tentions" of formal logic found in Article 2. 



What in General a Mind-Dependent Being Is, 
and How Many Kinds There Are 


Quid Sit Ens Rationis in Communi et Quotuplex 

If we attend to the signification of the name taken in its 
fullest extent, "mind-dependent being" expresses that 
which depends on the mind in any way. But something can 
so depend either as an effect depends on a cause, or as an 
object depends on the one knowing. 

In the first way, something can be found to depend on 
the mind as an effect upon a cause in two senses: either be- 
cause it is from the mind as from an efficient cause, the way 
that works of art [or technology] are devised and come to 
be by virtue of the mind; or because it is in the mind as in 
a subject and material cause, the way that acts and habits are 
in the understanding. But each of these senses pertains to the 
order of mind-independent being, because a being referred to 
in either of these two senses has a true and physical existence 
[i.e., an existence which does not wholly consist in being 
known], though one dependent upon understanding. 

That which depends on the understanding in the second 
way, however, namely, as an object, is properly called a mind- 
dependent or mental being, so far as is pertinent to present 
concerns, because it has no existence outside of the mind, 
but is said to exist only objectively within apprehension, and 
so is opposed to mind-independent or physical being. That 
there is being in this sense, to be sure, has been denied by 
some, yet it is affirmed by the general consensus of theolo- 
gians and philosophers, since they all distinguish mind-inde- 
pendent being from constructed, fictive, or mind-dependent 
being, by the fact that the former exists in the world of nature, 
while the latter does not have an existence in nature but is 
only known and constructed. Quite apart from any expert 

ENS RATIONIS in omni sua latitudine, 
si nominis significationem attendamus, 
dicit id, quod dependet aliquo modo a 
ratione. Potest autem dependere vel ut 

5 effectus a causa vel ut obiectum a cog- 

Primo modo invenitur aliquid du- 
pliciter dependere a ratione, vel quia est 
ab ipsa ut ab efficiente, sicut opera ar- 

10 tis, quae per rationem excogitantur et 
fiunt, vel quia est in ipsa ut in subiecto 
et causa materiali, sicut actus et habitus 
sunt in intellectu. Sed uterque iste mo- 
dus pertinet ad ens reale, quia ens sic 

15 dictum habet veram et realem existen- 

tiam, dependentem tamen ab intellectu. 

Quod autem secundo modo ab 

intellectu dependet, scilicet ut obiectum, 

dicitur proprie ens rationis, ut pertinet 

20 ad praesens, quia nullum esse habet ex- 
tra rationem, sed solum obiective dicitur 
esse in ipsa, et sic opponitur enti reali. 
Quod quidem licet aliqui negaverint, 
communi tamen theologorum et philo- 

25 sophorum consensu dari constat, cum 
omnes distinguant ens reale ab ente fic- 
to seu rationis, quia illud existit in rerum 
natura, hoc non habet existentiam in re, 
sed solum cognoscitur et fingitur. lino 


[285b4-286all] 49 

opinion, experience itself sufficiently proves that there is such 
a thing as being whose entire existence depends on the mind, 
since we witness ourselves imagining and knowing many 
things which are entirely impossible, and such are the con- 
structed or fictive beings. They are beings, certainly, because 
they are known in the way being is known; but they are con- 
structs or fictions, because no true being on the side of 
physical nature corresponds to them. 

From these observations a general definition or explication 
of mind-dependent being can be drawn, namely, that it is 
"being having existence objectively in the mind, to which no 
being in the physical world corresponds." This formulation 
is taken from the following works of St. Thomas: On Being 
and Essence, chap. I; 1 the Commentary on the Metaphysics of 
Aristotle, Book V, lect. 9; 2 and the Summa theologica, I, q. 16, 
art. 3, reply to obj. 2. In these works, it is said that that being 
is called mind-dependent or mental which, while it posits 
nothing in the physical world and in itself is not a being, is 
nevertheless formed or understood as a being in the mind. 
This way of explaining mind-dependent being is the more 
suitable in view of the fact that, since being is denominated 
from the act of being and in terms of an order to existence, 
just as mind-independent being is defined in terms of the 
order to the existence that it has truly and in the world of phys- 
ical nature, so mind-dependent being, which is opposed to 
physical being, must be explained in the opposite way, name- 
ly, as that which does not have an existence in the world of 
nature and does have existence objectively in cognition. 

The view taken by some, however, such as Durandus (in 
his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book I, dist. 
19, q. 5, n. 7), that mind-dependent being consists in the ex- 
trinsic denomination whereby a thing is said to be "cognized" 
or "known," is made doubtful in the first place because, as 
we shall soon see, whether an extrinsic denomination is for- 
mally a mind-dependent being is a point strongly disputed 
among the experts. In the second place, it is false that mind- 
dependent being universally speaking consists as such in the 
mere denomination of something as cognized or known. For 
this denomination either is the form constituting a mind-de- 
pendent being, or it is that which receives the formation of a 
mind-dependent being. The first alternative cannot be the case, 
because the denomination in question can also fall upon the 
mind-independent beings which are denominated cognized 
(known), yet are not formed by this denomination into mind- 
dependent beings, because they are not rendered constructs 
or fictions. If we consider the second alternative, we find it is 
true that an extrinsic denomination is apprehended as a mind- 
dependent being, yet not only extrinsic denomination, but 
other non-beings as well, such as negations, privations, etc. 








ipsa experientia sufficienter id probat, 
cum videamus multa nos imaginari et 
cognoscere, quae omnino impossibilia 
sunt, et talia sunt entia ficta. Entia qui- 
dem, quia cognoscuntur ad modum en- 
tis, ficta vero, quia non correspondet 
illis aliquod esse verum a parte rei. 

Ex quibus elici potest definitio seu ex- 
plicatio entis rationis in communi, scilicet 
quod sit ens habens esse obiective in ra- 
tione, cui nullum esse correspondet in 
re. Quod sumitur ex D. Thoma libro de 
Ente et Essentia cap. I. 1 et 5. Metaph. 
lect. 9. 2 et 1. p. q. 16. art. 3. ad 2. 
dicente, quod ens rationis dicitur, quod 
cum in re nihil ponat et in se non sit ens, 
formatur tamen seu accipitur ut ens in 
ratione. Qui modus explicandi conve- 
nientior est, quia cum ens dicatur ab 
essendo et per ordinem ad existentiam, 
sicut ens reale definitur per ordinem ad 
esse, quod vere habet et in re, ita ens ra- 
tionis, quod illi opponitur, oportet, quod 
opposite modo explicetur, scilicet quod 
non habet esse in re et habet illud in 
cognitione obiective. 

Quod vero aliqui dicunt ens rationis 
consistere in denominatione extrinseca, 
qua res dicitur cognita, ut Durandus in 
1. dist. 19. q. 5. n. 7 ., imprimis dubium 
assumitur, cum inter auctores valde con- 
troversum sit, an.denominatio extrinseca 
formaliter sit ens rationis, ut statim 
dicemus. Deinde falsum est universaliter 
loquendo ens rationis ut sic consistere 
in sola denominatione cogniti. Nam ista 
denominatio vel est forma constituens 
ens rationis, vel-est id, quod suscipit for- 
mationem entis rationis. Primum esse 
non potest, cum denominatio ista etiam 
cadere possit super entia realia, quae 
denominantur cognita, nee tamen hac 
denominatione formantur in entia ratio- 
nis, quia ficta non redduntur. Si secun- 
dum, verum est denominationem extrin- 
secam apprehendi ut ens rationis, sed 
non solum denominatio extrinseca, sed 
alia etiam non entia, ut negationes, pri- 
vationes etc. 

1 Pa XVI. 330 a. 

2 Pa XX. 402 a. 

50 [286al2-bl6] 


But if you should ask, What is it to have being in cogni- 
tion?, the response is that this depends on what we shall have 
to say shortly [in Article 3] concerning the cause of a mind-de- 
pendent being and the act by which it is formed. Meanwhile, 
suffice it to listen to St. Thomas when he says, in his Commen- 
tary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, Book IV, reading I, 3 n. 540: 
"We say of any things that they exist in the mind from the 
fact that the mind, during the time it affirms or denies any- 
thing of them, deals with them as if with some beings." This 
statement must not be understood as saying that a mind-de- 
pendent being is formed only by a proposition that denies 
or affirms, but as saying that the formation of a proposition 
concerning an object that does not have a physical existence 
in the world of nature is a sign that the object in ques- 
tion is grasped by the understanding in the way a being is 
grasped, because the copula that signifies the act of being is 
applied to it. 

And so the very act of understanding, attaining in just 
the way it would attain an extramental being an object that 
does not exist extramentally, has two aspects: not only does 
it, insofar as it is a cognition, render something known, and 
in this respect posit in the object only the extrinsic denomina- 
tion of being known; but it also renders that object known 
on the pattern (that is, in the likeness or guise) of a being, 
while in fact it is not a being (that is, does not exist extramen- 
tally), and this is to give the object a mind-dependent, con- 
structed, or fictive existence. And so St. Thomas, in his 
Treatise on the Nature of a Genus, chap. I, 4 says that a mind- 
dependent being is produced whenever the understanding 
attempts to apprehend that which does not exist, and there- 
fore construes that which is not as if it were a being. And 
in his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book I, 
dist. 2, q. 1, art. 3, 5 he says that a mind-dependent being 
results as a consequence of the manner of understanding 
reality that exists independently of the human mind, and that 
the intentions that our understanding introduces are of this 
sort. In this passage from the Commentary on the Sentences, 
St. Thomas reckons "to be effected by," "to be introduced 
by," "to be apprehended by," and "to be consequent upon" 
the manner or way of the understanding, as equivalent ex- 
pressions as far as concerns mind-dependent being. And 
thus, as we will say below, a mind-dependent being does not 
have a formally fictive or objective existence from this, that 
it is rendered known as that which is known; for in this respect 
it is already supposed to have a being or some rationale upon 
which the denomination of "known thing" falls. But that act, 
which respects a non-being under the rationale and guise 









Si autem quaeras, quid sit ha- 
bere esse in cognitione, respondetur hoc 
pendere ex his. quae postea dicenda 
sunt de causa et actu, quo formatur ens 
rationis. Interim sufficit audire D. Tho- 
mam 4. Metaph. lect. I, 3 ubi inquit: 
Dicimus aliqua in ratione esse, quia 
ratio de eis negotiatur quasi de quibus- 
dam entibus, dum de eis aliquid af- 
firmat vel negat. Quod non est intelli- 
gendum, quasi ens rationis solum for- 
metur per propositionem, quae negat 
vel affirmat, sed quia formatio proposi- 
tionis circa obiectum, quod non habet 
esse a parte rei, est signum, quod ad 
modum entis ab intellectu accipitur, 
quia ei applicatur copula, quae signi- 
ficat esse. 

Itaque ipse actus intellectus attin- 
gens obiectum ad modum entis, quod 
extra intellectum non est, habet duo: 
et in quantum cognitio reddit cogni- 
tum, et sic in obiecto solum ponit de- 
nominationem extrinsecam cogniti, et 
in quantum ad instar entis reddit tale 
obiectum cognitum, cum in re non sit 
ens, et hoc est dare esse rationis seu 
esse fictum. Et sic D. Thomas opusc. 
42. cap. I. 4 dicit, quod tune efficitur 
ens rationis, quando intellectus nititur 
apprehendere, quod non est, et ideo 
fingit illud ac si esset ens. Et in 1. Sen- 
tent, dist. 2. q. 1. art. 3. 5 inquit, quod 
ens rationis consequitur ex modo intel- 
ligendi rem, quae est extra animam, et 
huiusmodi sunt intentiones, quas in- 
tellectus noster adinvenit. Ubi S. Tho- 
mas pro eodem reputat in ente rationis 
effici, adinveniri, apprehendi et conse- 
qui ex modo intelligendi. Et ita, ut in- 
fra dicemus, ens rationis non habet f or- 
maliter esse fictum seu obiectivum per 
hoc, quod reddatur cognitum ut quod; 
sic enim iam supponitur habere esse 
seu rationem aliquam, supra quam ca- 
dat denominatio cogniti. Sed ille actus, 
qui respicit non ens sub ratione et 

3 Pa XX. 343 a. 

4 De natura generis (Pfl XVII. 8 a). 

5 Pfl VI. 23 b. 


[286bl6-287a25] 51 

of a being, is said to construct or to form the mind- 
dependent being, and not just to denominate. And in 
this consists the having of being [exclusively] objective- 
ly in the understanding, to wit, that that which is not 
a being is, by the very method of cognizing, constructed 
apprehensively as being, i.e., constructed by way of be- 
ing known as a being. 

You might say: If that is so, then every object that is 
conceived by the understanding otherwise than as it is in 
the physical world is a mind-dependent being. But the con- 
sequent is false; for we conceive many mind-independent 
beings such as God and pure spirits and those things 
which we have not experienced after the pattern of some 
other physical being, and not as they are in themselves. 

The consequence is denied, because such mind-independent 
beings as lie outside our direct experience and are conceived 
by us, are supposed to be true physical beings existing in 
fact. Whence the rationale of being is not attributed to them 
from the process of cognizing; but because they are not 
attained in a mode proper and special to themselves, they 
are said to be attained after the pattern of another. Yet the 
fact of being cognized on the pattern of another does not 
suffice for them to be denominated beings formed absolute- 
ly by the mind in the rationale of being, but they are 
denominated cognized or known by way of an alien nature, 
not by way of their proper being, and they receive thence 
in their known being a connotation relative to that on whose 
pattern they are known. 

Having now a general notion of mind-dependent be- 
ing, it remains also to establish briefly how many kinds 
of mind-dependent being there are. Now the task of work- 
ing out a scheme that divides mind-dependent being in 
its entire extent does not fall to the logician, who treats 
only of logical mind-dependent being, which is one of the 
members of the division. But nevertheless, that it might 
be known to which member of the division logical mind- 
dependent being pertains, we mention briefly that St. 
Thomas, in his Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 21, art. I, 6 
exhaustively divides mind-dependent being understood 
in the most general way into two members, namely, into 
negation and mind-dependent relation. There are, he says, 
only two possible kinds of mind-dependent being, namely, 
a negation or some relation; "for every absolute use of 
a word signifies something existing in the nature of things." 
Under negation, however, he also includes privation. For 
privation is a kind of negation or lack of a form in a sub- 
ject suited for receiving the opposite form, whereas nega- 
tion is a lack of a form in a subject unsuited for that form. 
For example: the lack of a visual capacity in a stone is a 

modo entis, dicitur fingere seu formare 
ens rationis, et non solum denominare. 
Et in hoc consistit habere esse obiective 
in intellectu, id est ex ipso modo cognos- 

5 cendi affici apprehensive ut ens, quod 
non est ens. 

DICES: Ergo omne obiectum, quod 
aliter ab intellectu concipitur quam sit in 
re, est ens rationis. Consequens est fal- 

10 sum; nam plura entia realia cognoscimus 
ad instar alterius, et non sicut sunt in se, 
sicut Deum et angelos et ea, quae non 
sumus experti. 

Negatur consequentia, quia talia 

is entia supponuntur in re esse vera entia 
realia. Unde ex modo cognoscendi non 
attribuitur illis ratio entis, sed quia modo 
proprio et speciali suo non attinguntur, 
dicuntur attingi ad instar alterius. Quod 

20 tamen non sufficit, ut denominentur en- 
tia formata a ratione absolute in ratione 
entis, sed denominantur modo alienae 
naturae, non propriae esse cognita, et 
connotationem inde recipiunt in suo cog- 

25 nosci ad id, ad cuius modum cognos- 

Habita notitia entis rationis in commu- 
ni, restat etiam breviter attingere, quotu- 
plex sit ens rationis. De divisione ergo, 

30 quae ens rationis in tota sua latitudine 
dividit, non pertinet agere ad logicum, qui 
solum tractat de ente rationis logico, quod 
est unum ex membris dividentibus. Sed ta- 
men ut sciatur, ad quod membrum divisio- 

35 nis pertineat, breviter dicimus D. Thomam 
in q. 21. de Veritate art. I. 6 dividere ens 
rationis communissime sumptum in duo 
membra adaequate dividentia, scilicet in 
negationem et relationem rationis. Id, in- 

40 quit, quod est rationis, non potest esse 
nisi duplex, scilicet negatio vel aliqua 
relatio; omnis enim positio absoluta ali- 
quid in rerum natura existens significat. 
Sub negatione autem etiam privationem 

45 includit. Nam privatio est quaedam ne- 
gatio seu carentia formae in subiecto ap- 
to ad recipiendam formam oppositam, 
negatio autem est carentia in subiecto 
repugnante formae, sicut negatio poten- 

6 Pa IX. 304 a et b. 

52 [287a25-b35] 


negation; in a man, it is a privation. Relation too has 
something proper by virtue of its concept, which is being 
toward another, that can be found in apprehension alone and 
not in physical reality when, specifically, it so bears toward 
another that it is not in anything, as St. Thomas shows in 
the Summa theologica, I, q. 28, art. 1. 

Not all admit the sufficiency of this division, however, 
because some think that being as it exists dependently upon 
the mind ought first to be divided into that which has a foun- 
dation in mind-independent being and that which does not; 
and the former is called a reasoned mind-dependent being, 
the latter a mind-dependent being of reasoning. But only that 
mind-dependent being which is reasoned is, they say, divid- 
ed into negation and relation, whereas that mind-dependent 
being which is of the mind reasoning they think is found in 
all the categories. See Serna's Commentary on the Logic of Aris- 
totle, disp. 1, sect. 4, q. 2, art. 3; Cabero's Digest of Logic, 
"Concerning Universals," disp. 1, dub. 3; and Merinero's 
Commentary on the Whole of Aristotle's Dialectical Works accord- 
ing to the Mind of John Duns Scotus, disp. 3, q. 2. 

Others espouse the view that there are no determinate 
kinds of mind-dependent being, but every incompatibility or 
every thing impossible and involving a contradiction, they 
say, is a kind of mind-dependent being, because everything 
of that sort is a constructed or fictional being. This is the posi- 
tion Martinez takes in The Syllogistic Art of Aristotle, disp. 2, 
"prologue" to q. 1. 

Others assign other kinds of mind-dependent being arbi- 
trarily, but there is no need to consider seriously such views. 

Taking all these differences of opinion into account, it 
must yet be said that this division of mind-dependent being 
into negations and relations is the best and is exhaustive, 
and is the one more directly suited to mind-dependent being 
in general. 

For in the case of a mind-dependent being we can con- 
sider three factors or elements: The first is the subject to 
which it is attributed; the second is the very rationale which 
is conceived and attributed to another; the third is that on 
the pattern of which the mind-dependent being is conceived 
and apprehended. 

On the side of the subject to which the mental construct is 
attributed, sometimes there is a foundation in fact for some- 
thing's being attributed to that subject in such or such a way, 
sometimes not. And the distinction between a mind-depen- 
dent being with a foundation in fact and one without such 
a foundation is drawn in terms of this difference; for the 
distinction in question is understood respectively to that sub- 
ject to which a given mind-dependent being or mental con- 
struct is attributed. 

Similarly on the side of that on whose pattern a mind-depen- 
dent being is conceived, it is not contradictory to find in- 

tiae visivae in lapide est negatio, in 
nomine privatio. Relatio etiam habet pro- 
prium ex vi sui conceptus, qui est ad al- 
terum, quod possit inveniri in sola ap- 

5 prehensione et non in re, quando scilicet 
ita se habet ad aliud, quod non est in ali- 
quo, ut D. Thomas ostendit 1. p. q. 28. 
art. 1. 

Huius autem divisionis sufficientiam 

w NON OMNES ADMiTTUNT, quia existimant 
aliqui prius esse dividendum ens ra- 
tionis in illud, quod habet fundamentum 
in re et quod non habet; et primum vo- 
catur rationis ratiocinatae, secundum ra- 

15 tionis ratiocinantis. Solum autem illud, 
quod est rationis ratiocinatae, dicunt di- 
vidi in negationem et relationem, quod 
vero est rationis ratiocinantis per omnia 
genera putant divagari. Videatur Serna 

20 in Logica disp. 1. sect. 4. q. 2. art. 3., 
Mag. Cabero de Universalibus disp. 1. 
dub. 3., Merinero disp. 3. q. 2. 

Alii existimant nullam dari speciem 
determinatam entis rationis, sed omnem 

25 repugnantiam seu omne impossibile et 
contradictionem implicans dicunt esse 
speciem entis rationis, quia omne illud 
est ens fictum. Ita Martinez disp. 2. pro- 
logi q. 1. 

30 Alii alias species pro libito assignant, 
de quibus non est curandum. 


et adaequatam esse hanc divisionem et 
magis directe conveniens enti rationis 

35 in communi. 

Nam in ente rationis TRIA possumus 
considerare: Primum est subiectum cui 
attribuitur; secundum est ratio ipsa, quae 
concipitur et attribuitur alteri; tertium est 

40 id, ad cuius instar concipitur et appre- 

Ex parte subiecti, cui attribuitur, 
aliquando invenitur fundamentum, ut 
tali vel tali modo aliquid ei attribuatur, 

45 aliquando non. Et ita respectu huius 
sumitur ilia distinctio entis rationis cum 
fundamento vel sine fundamento in re; 
accipitur enim hoc respective ad id, cui 
attribuitur tale ens rationis. 

so SimHiter ex parte eius, ad cuius 
instar concipitur ens rationis, non 


[287b35-288a42] 53 

stances in all the categories, because sometimes a mental con- 
struct or being can be constructed and apprehended after the 
pattern of substance (a chimera, for example, or a golden 
mountain), sometimes after the pattern of quantity (a va- 
cuum, for instance), sometimes after the pattern of quality 
(as, for instance, if death or blindness were conceived as a 
blackness or a kind of dark form, etc.). 7 

But indeed if we consider mind-dependent being on 
the side of the thing conceived, or on the side of that which, 
even though it is not a being in the physical world, is know- 
able in the way a physical being is knowable, then mind-de- 
pendent or mental being is exhaustively divided into these 
two members as into the primary kinds of mind-depen- 
dent being, namely, into negation and relation, under 
which many negations and relations are subdivided. And 
because this is the formal element that is attained in a 
mind-dependent being, therefore this division is the direct 
and formal one, though yet other divisions can also be ad- 
mitted, but as based on the conditions for mind-dependent 
being, not as based on mind-dependent being directly. 

Tliis division is, moreover, exhaustive, because the very 
rationale of mental or mind-dependent being formally con- 
sists in an opposition to physical or mind-independent 
being, specifically, the rationale of a mind-dependent being 
consists in the fact that it is not susceptible of a mind- 
independent existence. But this mental being is either 
something positive or nonpositive. If nonpositive, it is a 
negation, that is, something not positing but removing a 
form. If positive, it can only be a relation, because every 
positive absolute, since it is not conceived in terms of 
another, but in terms of itself, is either a substance in itself 
or an accident in another. Wherefore no positive absolute 
can be understood as a mind-dependent being, because 
through the very concept of being in itself or in another 
it impoits something of physical (or mind-independent) 
reality. But relation alone, 8 because it bespeaks not only 
the concept of "being in," but also the concept of "being 
toward" (by reason of which precisely relation does not 
bespeak an existence in terms of itself, but the extrinsic 
attainment of a terminus), can therefore without con- 
tradiction be conceived without anything of mind-indepen- 
dent reality and therefore as a mind-dependent being 
by a conceiving of that relational being not as in another 
or as in itself, but as toward another with the negation 
of an existence in another. 

But you may object on two counts: First, in order 
to prove that privations and negations are not rightly said 

repugnat per omnia genera divagari, quia 
aliquando potest fingi et apprehendi ali- 
quid ad instar substantiae, ut chimaera, 
mons aureus, aliquando ad instar quan- 

5 titatis, ut vacuum, aliquando ad instar 
qualitatis, ut si mors vel caecitas conci- 
piatur tamquam nigredo vel forma quae- 
dam obscura etc. 7 

At vero si consideremus ens rationis 

w ex parte rei conceptae seu exparte 
eius, quod ad modum entis realis cogno- 
scibile est, cum in re non sit ens, adae- 
quate dividitur in ilia duo membra tam- 
quam in prima genera entis rationis, sci- 

15 licet in negationem et relationem, sub qui- 
bus plures negationes et relationes subdi- 
viduntur. Et quia hoc est formale, quod 
attingitur in ente rationis, ideo haec di- 
visio est directa et formalis, cum tamen 

20 aliae divisiones etiam possint admitti, sed 
quasi desumptae ex conditionibus entis ra- 
tionis, non quasi directe sub Ulo positae. 
Est autem adaequata haec divisio, quia 
ratio ipsa entis rationis formaliter consistit 

25 in oppositione ad ens reale, scilicet quod 
non sit capax existentiae. Hoc autem vel 
est aliquid positivum vel non positivum. 
Si non positivum, est negatio, id est non 
ponens, sed tollens formam. Si positi- 

30 vum, solum potest esse relatio, quia om- 
ne positivum absolutum, cum non conci- 
piatur ad aliud, sed in se, vel in se est 
substantia vel actidens in alio. Quare non 
potest aliquid positivum absolutum sumi 

35 ut ens rationis, cum per ipsum concep- 
tum essendi in se vel in alio realitatem 
aliquam importet. Sola vero relatio, 8 quia 
non dicit solum conceptum ,,in", sed 
etiam conceptum ,,ad", ratione cuius 

40 praecise non dicit existentiam in se, sed 
extrinsecam termini attingentiam, ideo 
non repugnat concipi sine realitate, atque 
adeo ut ens rationis, concipiendo illud 
non ut in alio vel ut in se, sed ut ad aliud 

45 cum negatione existentiae in aliquo. 

Sed obicies duo: Prime ad proban- 
dum non recte dici privationem et nega- 

7 But see the Second Preamble, Article 2, 95/18-96/36. 

8 See Article 3 of this Preamble, 69/13-69/40, and in the Second Preamble see Article 2, 
94/24-96/36, esp. 95/18ff. 

54 [288a42-b46] 


to be mind-dependent beings. For privation and nega- 
tion bespeak a lack of a form and denominate a sub- 
ject deficient apart from any mind's considering; there- 
fore they are not fictive deficiencies nor constructed 
(mind-dependent) beings. 

The consequent is clear from the fact that 
mind-dependent being depends upon cognition in 
order to be and in order to confer its formal effect; 
therefore if prior to cognition a privation or a negation 
gives its denomination to things, negation is not a 
mind-dependent being. And the same argument ap- 
plies to an extrinsic denomination such as being seen 
or being known, namely, that, apart from any con- 
sideration of the understanding, through this alone, 
that there is a seeing of the wall in the eye, the wall 
is denominated seen, and similarly, prior to the re- 
sultance of a mind-dependent being, a nature can be 
denominated superior and inferior, predicate or sub- 
ject, etc. 

This is confirmed by the fact that an extrinsic 
denomination follows on a mind-independent form ex- 
isting in some subject; therefore the denomination itself 
is a mind-independent form. The consequent is clear 
from the fact that, just as the denomination that follows 
on a substantial form is substantial, and one that 
follows on an accidental form is accidental, so one that 
follows on a mind-independent form must be mind- 

The response to this 9 is that negation, as bespeak- 
ing the lack of a form, is given on the side of mind- 
independent being negatively, because the form itself 
is not in the thing. Yet it is not called a mind-dependent 
being for this reason, but because, while in the phys- 
ical world it is not a being, but the absence of a form, 
it is understood by the mind after the manner of a 
being, and so prior to the consideration of the under- 
standing it denominates a deficient subject. But this 
deficiency or lack is not properly a formal effect, nor 
is to remove a form some form, but the deficiency is 
understood in the manner of a formal effect, inasmuch 
as it is understood in the mode of a form, and con- 
sequently after the pattern of a formal effect, while 
in fact the deficiency or lack in question is not a for- 
mal effect, but the removal of that effect. And simi- 
larly there is an extrinsic denomination on the part 
of mind-independent being as regards the denomi- 
nating form. But because its application to the thing 
denominated is not mind-independently in the very 
thing denominated, therefore to conceive that form as 

tionem esse entia rationis. Nam privatio 
et negatio nullo intellectu considerante 
dicunt carentiam formae et denominant 
subiectum carens; ergo non sunt caren- 

5 tiae fictae nee entia rationis. 

Patet consequens, quia ens rationis 
dependet a cognitione, ut sit et ut con- 
ferat suum effectum formalem; ergo si 
ante cognitionem dat suam denomina- 

w tionem rebus, negatio non est ens ratio- 
nis. Et idem argumentum fit de deno- 
minatione extrinseca, v. g. esse visum, 
esse cognitum, quod nullo intellectu con- 
siderante per hoc solum, quod detur 

15 visio parietis in oculo, denominatur 
paries visus, et similiter ante resultan- 
tiam entis rationis potest denominari 
natura superior et inferior, praedicatum 
vel subiectum etc. 

20 Et confir mat ur, quia denominatio 
extrinseca sequitur ad formam realem 
existentem in aliquo subiecto; ergo est 
forma realis. Consequens patet, quia, sicut 
denominatio, quae sequitur ad formam 

25 substantialem, est substantialis, et quae 
sequitur ad accidentalem, est accidenta- 
lis, ita quae sequitur ad formam realem, 
debet esse realis. 

RESPONDETUR 9 negationem, ut dicit 

30 carentiam formae, dari a parte rei nega- 
tive, quia ipsa forma in re non est. Non 
tamen ex hoc dicitur ens rationis, sed 
quia cum in re non sit ens, sed carentia 
formae, accipitur ab intellectu per mo- 

35 dum entis, et ita ante considerationem 
intellectus denominat subiectum carens. 
Sed ista carentia proprie non est effec- 
tus formalis, nee tollere formam est ali- 
qua forma, sed per modum effectus for- 

40 malis accipitur ab intellectu, quatenus 
per modum formae accipitur, et conse- 
quenter ad modum effectus formalis, 
cum in re ilia carentia non sit effectus for- 
malis, sed ablatio illius. Et similiter de- 

45 nominatio extrinseca a parte rei datur 
quantum ad formam denominantem. 
Sed quia applicatio eius ad rem denorni- 
natam non est realiter in ipsa re denomi- 
nata, ideo concipere illam formam ut 

9 i.e., to 53/46-54/19. 


[288b46-289b4] 55 

adjoining and applied to the very thing denominated is 
something mind-dependent. But to be a predicate and 
subject, superior and inferior, is found prior to the 
awareness of understanding only fundamentally, not for- 
mally under the concept of relation, as will be explained 
at greater length in treating of universals. 

To the confirmation 10 the response is that some hold 
absolutely that an extrinsic denomination is something 
mind-dependentVazquez, for example, in his Commen- 
tary on the Summa theologica, I, disp. 115, chap. 2, n. 2, and 
I-II, disp. 95, chap. 10. But others think that absolutely it is 
something physical or mind-independent, though by an 
extrinsic, not an intrinsic, mind-independence, that pro- 
duces its effect without anything superadded by the mind: 
thus Suarez, in the last of his Metaphysical Disputations, 
sect. 2, and others. But it seems truer that in the denomina- 
tion in question two factors concur, namely, the form itself 
as the denominating rationale, and its adjacency or appli- 
cation to the thing denominated as the condition. And as 
regards the form itself, it is manifest that it is something 
mind-independent or physical, as the sight, by which the 
wall is denominated seen, is a form in the eye indepen- 
dent of being itself apprehended objectively; yet the appli- 
cation of the form as it touches the denominated subject 
is not something mind-independent, because it posits 
nothing in the wall itself. Every nonphysical apprehended 
thing is, however, something mind-dependent, and so, 
from the side of the application, an extrinsic denomina- 
tion is something mind-dependent in the denominated 
form. The subject [extrinsically] denominated is neverthe- 
less said to be denominated prior to the operation of the 
understanding, not by reason of that which the under- 
standing posits in the denominated subject, but by reason 
of that which the understanding supposes besides that 
subject, because in itself an extrinsic denomination is a 
mind-independent form, but it does not exist mind-inde- 
pendently in that which it denominates. Whence by reason 
of nonexistence it is taken as a mind-dependent being, 
yet by reason of the pre-existence in another from which 
it respects the denominated thing it is said to denominate 
prior to the operation of the understanding. 

And if it should be asked to which member of this divi- 
sion an extrinsic denomination pertains when it is con- 
ceived as a mind-dependent being, the response is that 
it pertains to relation, because it is not conceived as affec- 
ting by negating and removing a form, but by ordering 
and depending on that whence the denomination is taken, 
or on that toward which it is imposed and destined 
through cognition. 

adiacentem et applicatam ipsi rei deno- 
minatae, aliquid rationis est. Esse autem 
praedicatum et subiectum, superius et in- 
ferius, ante cognitionem intellectus solum 

5 invenitur fundamentaliter, non formaliter 
sub conceptu relationis, ut latius dicetur 
agendo de universalibus. 

Ad confirmationem 10 respondetur 
aliquos absolute sentire, quod denominatio 

w extrinseca est aliquid rationis, ut P. Vaz- 
quez 1. p. disp. 115. cap. 2. n. 2. et 1. 2. 
disp. 95. cap. 10. Alii vero, quod absolute 
est aliquid reale, realitate tamen extrinseca, 
non intrinseca, quae sine aliquo rationis 

is superaddito praebet suum effectum. Ita 
Suarez disp. ult. Metaph. sect. 2. et alii. 
Bed verius videtur, quod in denominatione 
ista concurrunt duo, scilicet ipsa forma ut 
ratio denominans, et adiacentia seu appli- 

20 catio eius ad denominatum ut conditio. Et 
quantum ad ipsam formam, manifestum 
est esse aliquid reale, sicut visio, qua 
paries denominatur visus, realis forma est 
in oculo; applicatio tamen eius, ut tangit 

25 subiectum denominatum, non est aliquid 
reale, quia nihil in ipso pariete ponit. 
Omne autem non reale apprehensum est 
quid rationis, et sic ex parte applicationis 
in forma denominata aliquid rationis est 

30 denominatio extrinseca. Dicitur tamen de- 
nominatum subiectum ante operationem 
intellectus, non ratione eius, quod in illo 
ponit, sed ratione eius, quod extra illud 
supponit, quia in se est forma realis, sed 

35 non realiter existit in eo, quod denominat. 
Unde ratione non existentiae sumitur ut 
ens rationis, ratione autem praeexistentiae 
in alio, a quo respicit rem denominatam, 
dicitur denpminare ante operationem in- 

40 tellectus. 

Et si inquiratur, ad quod mem- 
brum huius divisionis pertineat denomina- 
tio extrinseca, quando concipitur ut ens ra- 
tionis, respondetur pertinere ad relationem, 

45 quia non concipitur ut afficiens negando 
et tollendo formam, sed ordinando et de- 
pendendo ab eo, unde sumitur denomina- 
tio, vel ad id, ad quod imponitur et desti- 
natur per cognitionem. 

10 54/20-28. 

56 [289b5-290a7] 


A second objection is offered to prove that 
the division is not exhaustive. For a mind-dependent 
unity of the sort given to a universal by the under- 
standing is something made by the mind, and neither 
a relation nor a negation. It is not a relation, because 
unity is said absolutely, not respectively. It is not a 
negation, both because unity bespeaks something 
positive and not pure negation, as St. Thomas says in 
the Summa theologica, I, q. 11, art. 1; and because if it 
were a negation, it would have to be conceived in the 
manner of a mind-dependent being, and thus would 
not be called a mind-dependent unity that is, plurality 
negated by the mind but a being of the mind (a mind- 
dependent being) absolutely. And similarly, a mind- 
dependent duality or distinction is not a negation, since 
it rather removes the negation of unity; nor is it a rela- 
tion, because the relation of the distinguished terms 
is founded upon a distinction or duality; therefore it 
is something of another kind. 

This is confirmed in the case of things that are 
purely figments, such as a chimera, a golden moun- 
tain, and the like. For these are not negations nor rela- 
tions, but various substances synthesized by the mind 
out of antithetical parts. And similarly there can be a 
mind-dependent quality or quantity for example, if 
a vacuum is understood in the manner of a quantity, 
or darkness in the manner of a quality. Therefore not 
all mind-dependent beings reduce to negation and 

Some have responded 11 by saying that a unity that is 
only mental is taken from the unity of a concept, and that 
a mind-dependent or mental distinction is taken from a 
plurality of concepts, which is certainly true on the part 
of the cause producing or causing mind-dependent being. 
But the present inquiry is not about the efficient cause 
of mind-dependent being, but about the objective or fun- 
damental cause. Whence my own response 12 is that a 
mind-dependent unity on the side of the object pertains 
formally to negation or privation, because it is nothing 
other than a segregation of that in which there is coin- 
cidence or agreement from the several making a dif- 
ference. And to the first reason assigned for the contrary 
view 13 the response is that, according to St. Thomas in the 
passage cited, unity materially and entitatively is some- 
thing positive, but formally it is the negation of a divi- 
sion. And to the second reason 14 my response is that it 









Secundo obicitur ad probandum, quod 
non sit divisio adaequate. Nam unitas ra- 
tionis, qualis attribuitur universal! ab in- 
tellectu, est aliquid rationis, et non relatio 
neque negatio. Non relatio, quia unitas 
dicitur absolute, non respective. Non ne- 
gatio, turn quia unitas dicit aliquid positi- 
vum et non puram negationem, ut dicit S. 
Thomas 1. p. q. 11. art. 1.; turn quia, si 
esset negatio, deberet concipi per modum 
entis rationis, et sic non diceretur unitas 
rationis, id est negatio rationis, sed ens ra- 
tionis absolute. Et similiter dualitas seu 
distinctio rationis non est negatio, cum 
potius tollat negationem unitatis, nee re- 
latio, quia super distinctionem seu duali- 
tatem fundatur relatio distinctorum; ergo 
est altera species. 

Confirmatur in his, quae sunt pure 
figmenta, ut chimaera, mons aureus et 
similia. Haec enim non sunt negationes 
nee relationes, sed plures substantiae ab 
intellectu adunatae ex partibus inter se 
repugnantibus. Et similiter potest dari 
qualitas vel quantitas rationis, ut si va- 
cuum accipiatur per modum quantitatis 
vel tenebrae per modum qualitatis. Ergo 
non omnia entia rationis ad ilia duo redu- 

RESPONDETUR 11 aliquos existimare, quod 
unitas rationis tantum sumitur ex unitate 
conceptus, et distinctio ex pluralitate, 
quod quidem verum est ex parte causae ef- 
ficientis seu causantis ens rationis, quam 
in praesenti non inquirimus, sed de obiec- 
tiva seu fundamentali. Unde responde- 
mus, 12 quod unitas rationis ex parte obiecti 
pro formali pertinet ad negationem seu 
privationem, quia nihil aliud est quam 
segregatio eius, in quo est convenientia a 
pluribus facientibus differentiam. Et ad 
primam impugnationem 13 respondetur, 
quod secundum D. Thomam in illo loco 
unitas materialiter et entitative est aliquid 
positivum, sed formaliter est negatio divi- 
sionis. Et ad secundam respondetur, quod 

11 to 56/1-19. 

12 to 56/1-19. 

13 56/7-9. 

14 56/9-14. 


[290a7-b21] 57 

is not contradictory for this mind-dependent unity to 
be also a mind-dependent being, since indeed the very 
negation or separation of plurality and difference is 
understood in the fashion of a being. And to the added 
remark concerning a mind-dependent duality or dis- 
tinction, 15 my response is that a mind-dependent dis- 
tinction is formally a mental relation, and is the very 
relation itself of the distinguished terms, whose distinc- 
tion is a kind of relation by the very fact that they are 
only distinguished mind-dependently, even though the 
distinguished extremes are themselves sometimes con- 
ceived on the pattern of absolute things, as, for exam- 
ple, after the pattern of two substances, etc. But this 
relation of the distinction is founded not on another 
distinction formally understood, but fundamentally, that 
is, on a virtual plurality that obtains on the side of the 
object as subjected to a plurality of concepts. 

To the confirmation 16 the response is that all the 
figments in question are mind-dependent beings which 
are negation; not indeed that there is a mind-dependent 
substance or a mind-dependent quantity, because that 
which is formed by the understanding on the pattern 
of a mind-independent being is not a substance or a 
quantity, but negations of substance or of quantity con- 
ceived on the pattern of a substance or of a quantity. 
That on whose pattern something is conceived is not 
said to be a mind-dependent being, however, but that 
object which, while it is not in itself a being, is conceived 
after the pattern of a being. Concerning this, see fur- 
ther Article 2 of the Second Preamble 17 on Relation. 18 

From this it follows that in the case of the meta- 
physical universal, which expresses only a nature ab- 
stracted and conceived in the manner of a unity (as we 
will say in the following Question), there is already 
found something mind-dependent, namely, that which, 
owing to an abstraction, belongs to the nature re- 
presented or known, to. wit, the unity, whether apti- 
tude or nonimpossibility for being in many. For these 
negations are something mind-dependent, but are not 
formally second intentions, which consist in a relation 
founded on the natures thus abstracted. But the univer- 
sal thus abstracted is called metaphysical, not logical, 
because not every mind-dependent being formally and 
directly pertains to Logic, but second intention, as we 
have shown with the help of St. Thomas in Article 3 
of the preceding Question. But a second intention is 
a mind-dependent relation, not a negation like unity, 
and yet it belongs to a thing abstracted and one. 

non repugnat, quod ista unitas rationis sit 
etiam ens rationis; siquidem ipsa negatio seu 
separatio pluralitatis et differentiae per mo- 
dum entis accipitur ab intellectu. Et ad id, 

5 quod additur de dualitate seu distinctione 
rationis, 15 respondetur, quod distinctio ratio- 
nis formaliter relatio rationis est, et est ipsamet 
relatio distinctorum, quae hoc ipso, quod sola 
ratione distinguuntur, eorum distinctio relatio 

w quaedam est, licet ipsa extrema ad instar ab- 
solutorum aliquando distincta concipiantur, 
v. g. ad modum duplicis substantiae etc. Fun- 
datur autem relatio ista distinctionis non super 
alia distinctione formaliter accepta, sed fun- 
is damentaliter, id est in pluralitate virtuali, 
quae tenet se ex parte obiecti, ut pluralitati 
conceptuum subicitur. 

Ad confirmationem 16 respondetur 
omnia ilia figmenta esse entia rationis, quae 

20 sunt negatio; non vero dari substantiam ra- 
tionis vel quantitatem rationis, quia non est 
substantia vel quantitas id, quod per rationem 
formatur ad instar entis realis, sed negationes 
substantiae vel quantitatis ad instar substan- 

25 tiae vel quantitatis concipiuntur. Non dicitur 
autem ens rationis id, ad cuius instar aliquid 
concipitur, sed id, quod concipitur ad instar 
entis, cum non sit in se ens. De hoc vide latius 
infra Praeambulum Secundum 17 de Relatione 

30 art. 2. 18 

Ex hoc sequitur, quod in universali meta- 
physico, quod solum dicit naturam abstractam 
et per modum unius conceptam, ut seq. 
quaest. dicemus, iam invenitur aliquid ra- 

35 tionis, scilicet id, quod ex vi abstractionis con- 
venit naturae repraesentatae seu cognitae, id 
est unitas sive aptitudo aut non repugnantia 
ad essendum in pluribus. Istae enim nega- 
tiones aliquid rationis sunt, sed non sunt for- 

40 maliter secundae intentiones, quae in relatione 
consistunt fundata in naturis sic abstractis. 
Dicitur autem universale sic abstractum 
metaphysicum, non logicum, quia non omne 
ens rationis formaliter et directe pertinet ad 

45 Logicam, sed secunda intentio, ut ex D. 
Thoma ostendimus quaest. praec. art. 3. Haec 
autem est relatio rationis, non negatio, ut 
unitas, et tamen convenit rei abstractae et uni. 

15 56/14-19. 

16 56/20-29. 

17 In the original Latin: "q. 17." 

18 esp. 96/1-36. 



What Is the Second Intention and Logical Mind-Dependent Relation 
and How Many Kinds Are There 


Quid Sit Secunda Intentio et Relatio 
Rationis Logica et Quotuplex 

This is the mind-dependent being of which the logician 
properly treats, inasmuch as the specific type of relation 
which is considered by a logician is brought about as a 
result of an ordination of concepts. Thus St. Thomas says, 
in Book IV of his Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, 
reading 4, 1 that "mind-dependent objective being is prop- 
erly the name of those intentions which the understand- 
ing brings about within or introduces into considered 
things, such as, for example, the intention of a genus, 
species, and the like," and mind-dependent objective be- 
ing of this [restricted] kind is properly the subject of Logic. 

Supposed here therefore are the things which we said 
about terms of the first and second intention in the first 
of the Summulae books. 2 And "intention" is used in the 
present context not according as it expresses the act of the 
will respecting an end as distinguished from [the act of] 
choice [of means to realize that objective], but as standing 
for or supposing the act or conception of the understand- 
ing, which is said to be an intention in a general way, be- 
cause it tends toward another, to wit, toward an object. And 
so just as the concept in one mode is formal, in another 
mode objective (that is to say, is the very cognition or thing 

Hoc ens rationis est, de quo proprie 
agit logicus, quatenus ex ordinatione 
conceptuum adinvenitur talis relatio, 
quae a logico consideratur. Et ita D. 

5 Thomas in 4. Metaph. lect. 4. 1 inquit, 
quod ens rationis dicitur proprie de il- 
lis intentionibus, quas ratio adinvenit 
in rebus consideratis, sicut intentio ge- 
neris, speciei et similiurn, et huiusmodi 

w ens rationis est proprie subiectum Logi- 

SUPPONENDA ergo sunt, quae de ter- 
minis primae et secundae intentionis 
diximus in 1. libro Summularum. 2 Et 

is sumitur intentio in praesenti, non 
prout dicit actum voluntatis, qui distin- 
guitur ab electione et respicit finem, sed 
pro actu seu conceptu intellectus, qui 
dicitur intentio generali modo, quia ten- 

20 dit in aliud, scilicet in obiectum. Et ita 
sicut conceptus alius est formalis, alius 
obiectivus, scilicet ipsa cognitio vel res 

1 Pa XX. 349 a et b. 

2 Logica 1. p. lib. 1. c. 4, 12b49-13al9: "Terminus primae intentionis est, qui significat aliquid 
secundum id, quod habet in re vel in suo proprio statu, id est secluso statu, quern habet in intellectu et 
prout conceptum, sicut album, homo ut in re. Terminus secundae intentionis est, qui significat aliquid 
secundum id, quod habet per conceptum mentis et in statu intellectus, sicut species, genus, et alia similia, 
quae logicus tractat. Et dicuntur ista primae et secundae intentionis, quia id, quod convenit alicui secun- 
dum se, est quasi primum in illo et status proprius; quod vero convenit alicui, secundum quod est intellectum, 


[291a7-41] 59 

known), so is a formal intention one mode, an objec- 
tive intention another. The very mind-dependent rela- 
tion which is attributed to a thing cognized is called an 
objective intention; but the very concept by means of 
which an objective intention is formed is called a for- 
mal intention. For example, when we conceive "animal" 
as superior to its inferiors, the very universality obtaining 
on the side of animal conceived is called an objective 
or passive intention, but the concept itself by which 
animal is so conceived is called a formal intention. And 
so a formal intention as distinguished against an objec- 
tive intention is one relation, [but] the formality of a se- 
cond intention as it obtains on the side of the object 
cognized is something else again; for the formality of 
a second intention is always something mind-depen- 
dent, as being something resulting from cognition, but 
a formal intention is an act whose being does not de- 
pend on itself being cognized. 

But this formality of a second intention is called "sec- 
ond intention" according to the difference from a first 
intention, as if a second state or condition of an object 
were being expressed. For an object can be considered 
in two states: First, as it is in itself, whether as regards 
existence or as regards definable structure. Second, as 
it is in apprehension, and this state of existing in cogni- 
tion is second in respect of the state of existing in itself, 
which is first, because just as knowability follows on 
entity, so being known follows on that being which an 
object has in itself. Those affections or formalities, 
therefore, belonging to a thing according as it is in it- 






cognita, ita alia est intentio formalis, alia 
obiectiva. Obiectiva dicitur ipsa relatio ra- 
tionis, quae attribuitur rei cognitae; for- 
malis vero ipse conceptus, per quern for- 
matur. Sicut quando concipimus animal 
tamquam superius ad sua inferiora, ipsa 
universalitas ex parte animalis se tenens 
dicitur intentio obiectiva seu passiva, ipse 
vero conceptus, quo sic concipitur animal, 
dicitur intentio formalis. Et sic aliud est 
formalis intentio, ut distinguitur contra 
obiectivam, aliud formalitas intentionis 
secundae, ut tenet se ex parte obiecti cog- 
niti; haec enim semper est aliquid ratio- 
nis, utpote ex cognitione resultans, ilia 
vero est actus realis. 

Vocatur vero s e c u n d a intentio ista 
secundum differentiam a prima, quasi 
dicatur secundus status seu conditio ob- 
iecti. Potest enim obiectum considerari in 
duplici statu: Primo, secundum quod est 
in se, sive quantum ad existentiam sive 
quantum ad quidditatem. Secundo, ut est 
in apprehensione, et status iste essendi 
in cognitione est secundus respectu status 
essendi in se, qui est primus, quia sicut 
cognoscibilitas sequitur ad entitatem, ita 
esse cognitum est post illud esse, quod 
habet in se. Illae ergo affectiones seu for- 
malitates, quae conveniunt rei prout in 

est quasi secundum et secundus status superveniens primo, et idea vocatur secundae intentionis, quasi 
secundi status." "A term of the first intention is one that signifies something according to that 
which the signified has in reality (independently of its being known) or in its own proper condi- 
tion, that is to say, apart from the condition or status it has in the understanding and according 
as it is conceived, such as a white thing, or a man, as existing independently of cognition. A 
term of the second intention is one that signifies something according to that which the signified 
has owing to a concept of the mind and in the condition or state of the understanding, such 
as species, genus, and things of like kind that logicians treat. And these are said to be of first 
and second intention, because that which belongs to anything according to its own being is, 
as it were, primary in that thing and its own condition or state; but that which belongs to anything 
according as it is understood is as it were secondary and a second condition or state superven- 
ing upon the first, and for this reason it is called 'of second intention,' as of the second status." 
the reader should note, however, that, as Poinsot puts it (Logica 2. p. q. 12. art. 1., Reiser 
ed. 464b24-28): ". . . etiam in entibus rationis potest inveniri prima intentio, sicut sunt multae nega- 
tiones et privationes et denominations extrinsecae" "a first intention can also be found in the case 
of mind-dependent beings, as are many negations and privations and extrinsic denominations." 
Thus, social and cultural roles and personality structure, though mind-dependent creations, yet 
belong to the order of first intention: e.g., see 60/15-35 in this Article, and Book I, Question 2, 
141/28-142/13, and note 32 p. 150, at the end. Also (ibid., 464b28-33): "Potest etiam una secunda 
intentio materialiter substerni et denominari accidentaliter ab alia secunda intentione, et sic induit quasi 
modum primae intentionis respectu eius, cui substernitur,""One second intention can even be 
materially subtended and accidentally denominated by another second intention, and so a se- 
cond intention assumes the manner of a first intention in respect of the second intention to which 
it is subtended." See 61/31ff. below. 

60 [291a42-292a2] 


self, are called first intentions; those belonging to the 
thing according as it is known are called second inten- 
tions. And because it is the task of Logic to order things 
as they exist in apprehension, therefore of itself Logic 
considers second intentions, the intentions which coin- 
cide with things as known. 

From which it follows first that not every mind- 
dependent objective relation is a second intention, 
but, nevertheless, every second intention taken for- 
mally, and not only fundamentally, is a mind-depen- 
dent objective relation, not a mind-independent form, 
nor an extrinsic denomination, as some erroneously 

The first part of this 3 is manifestly the case, because 
even though every mind-dependent relation results from 
cognition, yet not every such relation denominates a 
thing only in the state of a cognized being, which is a 
second state, but some also do so in the state of an ex- 
istence independent of cognition, as, for example, the 
relations of Creator and Lord do not denominate God 
known in himself, but God existing, and similarly be- 
ing a doctor, being a judge. For the existing man, not 
the man as cognized, is a doctor or a judge, and so those 
mind-dependent relations [being a doctor, judge, teacher, 
etc.] denominate a state of existence. 4 

Here note this difference: even though cognition is the 
cause from which a mind-dependent relation results (as 
it is the cause of all mind-dependent being), and thus, 
as the mind-dependent relation belongs to and denom- 
inates some subject, it necessarily requires cognition, 
yet cognition does not always render the object itself apt 
and congruous for the reception of such a denomina- 
tion, so that the denomination belongs to that object only 
in cognized being, for this happens only in second inten- 
tions. And thus the relations of Creator and Lord, judge 
and doctor, as they denominate a subject, require cogni- 
tion, which causes such relations, but does not render 
the subject capable in cognized or known being of receiv- 
ing that denomination. But indeed the being of a genus 
or species not only supposes cognition causing such rela- 
tions, but also supposes a cognition which renders the 
subject abstracted from individuals, and upon the thing 
so abstracted falls that denomination [i.e., the denomi- 
nation by a second intention]. 

The second part of the conclusion 5 is expressly that 
of St. Thomas in his work, On the Nature of Genus, chap. 
12, 6 where he says that second intentions are properties 

se, vocantur primae intentiones, quae con- 
veniunt rei prout cognita, vocantur secun- 
dae. Et quia pertinet ad Logicam dirigere 
res, secundum quod sunt in apprehensione, 

5 ideo per se considerat Logica intentiones 

secundas, quae conveniunt rebus ut cognitis. 

Ex QUO DEDUCITUR PRIMO, quod non om- 

nis relatio rationis est secunda intentio, 

omnis tamen secunda intentio formaliter 

w sumpta, et non solum fundamentaliter, est 

relatio rationis, non forma realis, non de- 

nominatio extrinseca, ut male aliqui putant. 

Prima pars 3 constat manifeste, quia 

licet omnis relatio rationis resultet ex cogni- 

15 tione, non tamen omnis ista relatio deno- 
minat rem solum in statu cogniti, qui est 
status secundus, sed etiam in statu existen- 
tiae extra cognitionem, sicut relatio Crea- 
toris et Domini non denominat Deum in se 

20 cognitum, .sed Deum existentem, et similiter 
esse doctorem, esse iudicem. Neque enim 
homo ut cognitus est doctor aut iudex, sed 
homo existens, et ita denominant illae rela- 
tiones pro statu existentiae. 4 

25 Ubi discerne, quod licet cognitio sit causa, 
ex qua resultat relatio rationis (quod omni 
enti rationis commune est), et ita ut con- 
veniat et denominet relatio rationis aliquod 
subiectum, necessario exigat cognitionem, 

30 non tamen semper cognitio reddit ipsum 
obiectum aptum et congruum susceptivum 
talis denominationis, ita ut solum conveniat 
illi in esse cognito, sed solum hoc contingit 
in intentionibus secundis. Et ita relatio Crea- 

35 toris et Domini, iudicis et doctoris, ut de- 
nominet subiectum, requirit cognitionem, 
quae talem relationem causet, sed non quae 
constituat subiectum in esse cognito capax, 
ut denominationem illam suscipiat. At vero 

40 esse genus vel speciem non solum supponit 
cognitionem causantem tales relationes, sed 
etiam supponit cognitionem, quae reddat 
subiectum abstractum ab inferioribus, et su- 
per rem sic abstractam cadit ilia denominatio. 

45 Secunda vero pars 5 est expresse D. 
Thomae in opusc. 42. cap. 12. 7 6 ubi dicit, 
quod secundae intentiones sunt proprie- 

3 60/7-8. 

4 Cf. Book I, Question 2, 141/12-142/13, esp. 141/37-142/8. 

5 60/9-13. 

6 De natura generis (Pa XVII. 17 a). 


[292a2-bll] 61 

belonging to things as a result of their having being in un- 
derstanding; and the Disputed Questions on the Power of God, 
q. 7, art. 9, 7 says that "they [i.e., second intentions] follow 
upon the mode of understanding"; and the Commentary 
on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, Book IV, reading 4, 8 says that 
second intentions belong to things as cognized or known 
by the understanding. They are therefore not mind-inde- 
pendent objective forms, but mind-dependent ones. 

And this is the case, both because the rationale of genus 
and of species and of any other universals [i.e., formal 
universals] consists in a relation of superiors [e.g., classes] 
to inferiors [e.g., instances], which relations cannot be 
mind-independent (for otherwise there would be given a 
universal formally existing in the order of mind-inde- 
pendent being), and also because these intentions sup- 
pose for a fundament a known being, as for example a 
genus supposes a thing's being abstracted from inferiors 
and belongs to that thing by reason of the abstraction. 
Therefore a second intention supposes the extrinsic de- 
nomination of a thing cognized and abstracted, but it is 
not formally the extrinsic denomination itself, and much 
less are second intentions mind-independent forms; for in 
that case they would descend to the singular things them- 
selves in which they would be found mind-independently 
existing, and not only in what is abstracted from singulars. 
But the very act of understanding is a kind of act indepen- 
dent of being itself apprehended, yet it is not the objec- 
tive second intention itself of which we now treat, but the 
formal intention from which this objective [second] in- 
tention results. 

It follows secondly that although a first intention ab- 
solutely taken must be something mind-independent or 
belonging to something in the state of being independent 
of objective apprehension (for otherwise it would not be 
simply first, because that which is mind-independent 
always precedes and is prior to that which is mind- 
dependent), yet nevertheless it is not contradictory that 
one second intention should be founded on another. In 
such a case, the founding second intention takes on as it 
were the condition of a first intention in respect of the 
other or founded intention, not because it is simply first, 
but because it is prior to that intention which it founds. 

For since the understanding is reflexive upon its own 
acts, it can know reflexively the second intention itself and 
found upon that cognized intention another second inten- 
tion; for example, the intention of a genus which is at- 
tributed to animal, can as cognized again found the second 
intention of species, inasmuch as the intention of genus 

tates convenientes rebus ex eo, quod sunt 
in intellectu; et q. 7. de Potentia art. 9., 7 
quod sequuntur modum intelligendi; et 
4. Metaph. lect. 4., 8 quod conveniunt re- 

5 bus prout cognitae ab intellectu. Non ergo 
reales formae sunt, sed rationis. 

Et constat hoc, turn quia ratio generis 
et speciei et reliquorum universalium con- 
sistit in relatione superiorum ad inferiora, 

w quae non possunt esse relationes reales, 
alias daretur universale formaliter a parte 
rei. Turn etiam, quia istae intentiones sup- 
ponunt pro fundamento esse cognitum, 
sicut genus supponit rem esse abstractam 

25 ab inferioribus et ratione abstractionis ei 
convenit. Ergo supponit denominationem 
extrinsecam cogniti et abstracti, non vero 
formaliter est ipsa denominatio extrinseca, 
et multo minus sunt formae reales; sic 

20 enim descenderent ad ipsa singularia, in 
quibus realiter invenirentur, et non solum 
in abstracto a singularibus. Ipse autern ac- 
tus intellectus est quidam actus realis, sed 
non est ipsa intentio secunda obiectiva, 

25 de qua nunc agimus, sed formalis, ex qua 
ista obiectiva resultat. 

SECUNDO SEQUITUR, quod licet prima 
intentio absolute sumpta debeat esse ali- 
quid reale vel conveniens alicui in statu 

30 realitatis, alias non esset simpliciter prima, 
quia semper id, quod est reale, praecedit 
et prius est eo, quod est rationis, nihilo- 
minus tamen non repugnat etiam in ipsa 
secunda intentione aliam secundam in- 

35 tentionem fundari, et tune secunda in- 
tentio fundans induit quasi conditionem 
primae intentionis respectu alterius fun- 
datae, non quia sit simpliciter prima, sed 
quia est prior ilia, quam fundat. 

40 Nam cum intellectus sit reflexivus 
supra suos actus, potest ipsam secundam 
intentionem reflexe cognoscere et super 
ipsam cognitam fundare aliam secundam 
intentionem; sicut intentio generis, quae 

45 tribuitur animali, iterum ut cognita potest 
fundare secundam intentionem speciei, 
quatenus intentio generis est quaedam 
species praedicabilis. Et tune secunda ista 

7 Pa VIII. 163 a. 

8 Pa XX. 349 b. 

62 [292bll-293al9] 


is a kind of predicable species. And then this found- 
ed second intention denominates the founding second 
intention as prior, by reason of which circumstance 
it is said that the genus formally is a genus and de- 
nominatively is a species. This is something that fre- 
quently happens in these second intentions, to wit, 
that one of them is in itself formally of a certain type, 
but is of another type as known denominatively. 
Nevertheless these are all said to be second intentions, 
even though the one second intention is founded on 
another second intention, and there is not said to be 
a third or a fourth intention, because they all belong 
to (or coincide with) the object as known, but being 
known is always a second state for a thing. And be- 
cause one second intention as it founds another takes 
on as it were the condition of a first intention in 
respect of that other founded on it, so even that in- 
tention which is founded is always said to be second. 

You may say: A second intention respects a 
first intention as something correlative, because sec- 
ond is spoken of in view of the first, therefore the 
second intention does not respect the first intention 
as a fundament, but as a terminus. Again: A second 
intention is predicated of its fundament, for example: 
"Man is a species"; but a second intention is not 
predicated of a first, for this is false: "A first inten- 
tion is a second intention"; therefore a second inten- 
tion is not founded on a first intention. 

The response to the first argument 9 is that the sec- 
ond intention does not respect the first as something 
correlative in the manner of a terminus, but as a sub- 
ject to which it is attributed and which it denominates 
or on which it is founded. And so it is expressed 
through an order to a first intention as to a subject, 
not as to a terminus; just as a relation is expressed 
through an order to an absolute as to a subject or fun- 
dament, but not as to a correlative, unless it takes on 
the rationale of a terminus, and then it will be some- 
thing respective or correlative, not as a subject, as we 
will say in [treating] the category of relation. And 
similarly the formal correlative of a second intention 
always is some second intention, as genus to species 
and vice versa. 

To the second argument 10 it is said that a second 
intention is predicated of a first intention in the con- 
crete, as white of a man, but not in the abstract; and 
for this reason it is true that man is a species, and false 
that a first intention is a second intention. For second 

intentio fundata denominat priorem fun- 
dantem, ratione cuius dicitur, quod genus 
formaliter est genus et denominative spe- 
cies. Quod frequenter contingit in istis 

5 secundis intentionibus, quod secundum 
se una formaliter sit talis, et denominative 
ut cognita sit alia. Et nihilominus omnes 
istae dicuntur secundae intentiones, licet 
una fundetur super aliam, non tertia vel 

w quarta intentio, quia omnes conveniunt 
obiecto ut cognito, esse autem cognitum 
est semper status secundus rei. Et quia 
una intentio ut f undat aliam, induit quasi 
conditionem primae respectu illius, et sic 

15 ilia, quae fundatur, semper dicitur se- 

DICES: Secunda intentio respicit pri- 
mam ut correlativum, quia secunda dici- 
tur per respectum ad primam, ergo non 

20 ut fundamentum, sed ut terminum. Item: 
Secunda intentio praedicatur de suo fun- 
damento, ut Homo est species; sed se- 
cunda intentio non praedicatur de prima, 
nam haec est falsa: Prima intentio est 

25 secunda intentio; ergo non fundatur in 

Respondetur ad primum 9 secun- 
dam intentionem non respicere primam 
ut correlativum per modum termini, sed 

30 per modum subiecti, cui attribuitur et 
quod denominat vel in quo fundatur. Et 
sic dicitur per ordinem ad primam ut ad 
subiectum, non ut ad terminum; sicut 
relatio dicitur per ordinem ad absolutum 

35 ut ad subiectum vel fundamentum, non 
vero ut ad correlativum, nisi induat ratio- 
nem termini, et tune erit aliquid respecti- 
vum seu correlativum, non ut subiectum, 
ut dicemus in praedicamento relationis. 

40 Et similiter correlativum f ormale secundae 
intentionis semper est aliqua secunda in- 
tentio, ut genus ad speciem et e contra. 
Ad secundum 10 dicitur, quod secunda 
intentio praedicatur de prima in concrete, 

45 sicut album de homine, sed non in ab- 
stracto; et ideo est verum, quod homo est 
species, et f alsum, quod prima intentio sit 
secunda intentio. Nam etiam secundae 

9 62/19-23. 
10 62/23-28. 


[293a20-b28] 63 

intentions can also be signified by an abstract name, in 
general by this name, "second intention," as well as 
in particular, as by the name, "universality," "gener- 
ality," and the like, which imply only a form of under- 
standing in the abstract, but do not signify the sub- 
ject or thing on which they are founded directly, but 
indirectly; just as whiteness in the abstract implies a 
body indirectly, because it is a quality of a body. 

If you ask, how many types of second intention 
are there and how are they divided, the answer is that 
all relations are divided by reason of their proximate 
fundament or rationale of founding, as we will say 
in [our treatment of] the category of relation. 11 
Whence also the mind-dependent relation, which is 
formed on the pattern of mind-independent relation, 
is rightly divided by means of its fundaments. But 
because the fundament of a second intention is a thing 
as known and as it is subjected to the state of appre- 
hension, the division of second intention is also drawn 
according to the diverse orders of the known (for 
whose ordination the second intention is formed). 
Whence, because the first operation of the under- 
standing is ordered and directed in one way, the 
second operation in another way, and the third in yet 
another, therefore second intentions may be divided 
in different ways according to the diverse ordinations 
of these operations, and in each operation there will 
be different intentions according to different orders 
of directability. 

As, for example, in the first operation the inten- 
tion of the term which is ordered as a part of an enun- 
ciation and syllogism is one order of directability, 
under which the diverse intentions of a part are con- 
tained, such as the rationale of a name, the rationale 
of a copula, and of the other terms; another order of 
directability is the intention of universality in the 
mode of a higher predicable (which is also divided 
into the various modes of universality, such as genus, 
species, etc.), to which corresponds the intention of 
subjectability, as it is found in the individual and in 
the other lower predicates. 

In the second operation, however, is found the 
intention of a statement, which order of directability 
is divided through the various modes of perfect and 
imperfect statement. Again the proposition, which is 
one of the perfect forms of statement, is divided into 
the affirmative and the negative and the other divi- 
sions which we have explained in the second of 

intentiones nomine abstracto significari 
possunt, tam in communi per hoc nomen 
,,secunda intentio" quam in particular!, 
ut hoc nomine ,,universalitas, genereitas" 

5 et similia, quae solum important formam 
rationis in abstracto, subiectum autem seu 
rem, in qua fundantur, non significant 
directe, sed in obliquo; sicut albedo in 
abstracto importat corpus in obliquo, quia 

w est qualitas corporis. 

Si QUAERAS, quotuplex sit secunda in- 
tentio et quomodo dividatur, respon- 
d e t u r omnem relationem dividi ratione 
sui fundamenti proximi seu rationis fun- 
is dandi, ut dicemus in praedicamento re- 
lationis. 11 Unde similiter relatio rationis, 
quae ad instar relationis realis formatur, 
recte dividetur per sua fundamenta. Cum 
autem fundamentum secundae intentio- 

20 nis sit res ut cognita et ut subest statui ap- 
prehensionis, iuxta diversum ordinem 
cogniti, ad cuius ordinationem secunda 
intentio formatur, sumetur quoque divisio 
secundae intentionis. Unde, quia aliter or- 

25 dinatur et dirigitur prima operatic intel- 
lectus, aliter secunda et aliter tertia, ideo 
penes diversas ordinationes istarum ope- 
rationum dividetur secunda intentio, et in 
qualibet operatione secundum diversum 

30 ordinem dirigibilitatis erit diversa intentio. 
Sicut in prima operatione alia est inten- 
tio termini, quae ordinatur ut pars enun- 
tiationis et syllogismi, sub qua diversae 
intentiones partis continentur, sicut ratio 

35 nominis, ratio verbi et aliorum termino- 
rum; alia est intentio universalitatis per 
modum superioris praedicabilis, quae 
etiam dividitur in varies modos univer- 
salitatis, ut, genus, species etc., cui cor- 

40 respondet intentio subicibilitatis, sicut in- 
venitur in individuo et aliis inferioribus 

In secunda autem operatione invenitur 
intentio orationis, quae dividitur per va- 

45 rios modos orationis perfectae et imper- 
fectae. Rursus propositio, quae est una ex 
orationibus p rf ecu's, dividitur per affir- 
mativam et negativam et alias divisiones, 

11 q. 17. art. 3., i.e., in the present work, Second Preamble/Article 3, esp. 101/11-26. 

64 [293b28-45] 


the Summulae books. 12 And again the proposition founds 
other second intentions, which are the properties of a 
proposition, such as opposition and conversion, which 
pertain to the whole proposition, and supposition and 
extension, predicate and subject, and the like, which 
are properties of the parts of a proposition, as was ex- 
plained in the same book. 13 

Finally in the third operation is the intention of the 
consequence or of argumentation, which order of direct- 
ability is divided through induction and syllogism; and 
induction through ascent from singulars to universals and 
descent from universals to singulars, 14 the syllogism 
through the various modes and figures, which are ex- 
plained in the same book. 15 


quas libro 2. Summularum explicavimus. 12 
Et rursus propositio fundat alias secundas in- 
tentiones, quae sunt proprietates propositio- 
nis, ut oppositio et conversio, quae pertinent 
ad totam propositionem, et suppositio et am- 
pliatio, praedicatum et subiectum aliaque 
similia, quae sunt proprietates partium pro- 
positionis, ut in eodem libro explicatum est. 13 
Denique in tertia operatione est intentio 
consequentiae seu argumentationis, quae 
dividitur per inductionem et syllogismum; 
et ilia per ascensum et descensum, 14 hie per 
varies modos et figuras, de quibus ibidem 
dictum est. 15 

12 Logica 1. p. lib. 2. c. 7. 

13 Logica 1. p. lib. 2. c. 9-19. incl. 

14 Poinsot here remarks in passing a point of fundamental import for semiotic which was 
recognized but underdeveloped by the scholastics, then forgotten wholly by the moderns. In 
discussing this point in Introducing Semiotic (Deely 1982: 67-75), thus, I remarked (pp. 71, 72-73): 
". . . it would seem that the most fertile development for semiotics in this area of logic comes 
with the re-discovery by C. S. Peirce around 1866 that the notion of induction is heterogeneous, 
comprising not one but two distinct species of movement: the movement of the mind whereby 
we form an hypothesis on the basis of sensory experience, which Peirce called abduction 
(sometimes "hypothesis," also "retroduction"), and the movement back whereby we confirm 
or infirm our hypothesis with reference to the sensory, for which movement Peirce retained 
the name induction. . . . 

"In this way of understanding the matter, a simplistic 'contrast of opposite directions in 
the reasoning process between the same two points' (cf. Eco 1976: 131-133) is replaced rather 
by the phenomenological contrast between thought in its interaction with the realm of material 
things outside itself, on the one hand which interaction moreover is of a twofold character; 
and thought considered in its internal development according to the relations which are proper 
to its own realm. Thus we have the three irreducibly distinct movements recognized in com- 
mon by Peirce and some among the older Latin authors grounded in the integral treatment of 
the Organon: 



( 2 ) 

- Ideas 


15 Logica 1. p. lib. 3. c. 2., 3., 5., 6. 




By What Powers and Through Which Acts 
Do Mind-Dependent Beings Come About 


Per Quam Potentiam et Per Quos Actus 
Fiant Entia Rationis 

There is no doubt that the powers by which [objectively] 
mind-dependent being is produced must be powers that 
work immanently; for powers that work transitively, it is 
clear, produce something existing independently of under- 
standing. But some immanent powers are cognitive, others 5 
are appetitive. And as regards those which are appetitive, 
some have said that mind-dependent beings can result from 
the will [as well as from the understanding] Scotus, for ex- 
ample, against whom Cajetan argues in his Commentary on 
the Summa theologica, I, q. 28, art. 1. It must be noted, how- w 
ever, that Scotus, in his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter 
Lombard, Book HI, dist. 26, q. 2 [which is the passage Cajetan 
refers to], seems to have been speaking of mind-dependent 
being not strictly, but as the name "mind" includes both the 
understanding and the will in its signification. Moreover, is 
there are some who extend this capacity to produce mind- 
dependent being to any power whatever from which there 
results in an object an extrinsic denomination, on the basis 
of the view that mind-dependent being consists in an extrinsic 
denomination, which view we have discussed already. 2 As 20 
regards the cognitive powers, however, there is room for 
wondering whether at least the internal senses the imagin- 
ative or fantasizing power, for example do not produce 
mind-dependent beings, because the internal senses construct 
and imagine many objects that are beings entirely fictive. 25 

Constat potentias, quibus fit 
ens rationis, debere esse potentias 
operantes immanenter; nam quae tran- 
seunter operantur, patet facere aliquid 
extra intellectum existens. Potentiae 
autem immanentes aliae sunt cogno- 
scitavae, aliae appetitivae. Et de appe- 
titivis aliqui dixerunt etiarn ex volun- 
tate resultare entia rationis, ut Scotus, 
contra quern agit Caietanus 1. p. q. 
28. art. 1. Quamvis Scotus loqui vide- 
atur de ente rationis non stricte, sed 
prout hoc nomen ,, ratio" comprehen- 
dit intellectum et voluntatem, in 3. 
dist. 26. q. 2. Resp. Imo aliqui hoc ex- 
tendunt ad quamlibet potentiam, unde 
resultat in obiecto extrinseca denorni- 
natio, eo quod existimant ens rationis 
in denominatione extrinseca consis- 
tere, de quibus diximus praec. art. 2 De 
potentiis vero cognoscitivis dubitari 
potest, saltern de sensibus internis, ut de 
imaginativa vel phantasia, quia multa 
fingunt et imaginantur, quae sunt entia 
omnino ficta. 

1 "Articulus IV" in the original Latin. 

2 esp. 49/29-51/7, and 54/29-55/49. 

66 [301a36-b38] 


Turning from the questions concerning the powers 
that produce mind-dependent beings to questions con- 
cerning the act itself forming a mind-dependent being, 
we find again room for doubt on two points. First, there 
is the question whether a mind-dependent being can be 
formed by an absolute act, such as a simple operation 
is, or does the production of a mind-dependent being re- 
quire some comparative or compositive act? Second, there 
is the question whether a mind-dependent being requires, 
in order to exist, a reflexive act whereby it would be 
known from the very mental being formed as from the 
object known; or indeed does a direct act suffice, an act 
whereby something which is not a being is known on 
the pattern of a being? 

Taking up each of these four doubtful points in turn, 
I say first: Neither the will nor the external senses form 
mind-dependent beings, in the sense that by virtue 
neither of an act of the will as such nor of an act of ex- 
ternal sense as such would mind-dependent beings have 

The conclusion is certain and is PROVED BY ONE SINGLE 
REASON, because the will and the external senses alike 
do not form their object, but presuppose an object formed 
outside of themselves. Therefore they do not construct 
anything within themselves, but if they apprehend a con- 
structed or fictive object, they presuppose that it was con- 
structed and formed by some other power. 

The antecedent is clearly verified in the case of the 
will, which supposes an object proposed by cognition, 
whether that object be true or apparent; therefore the 
will itself does not produce an object, but is borne to 
a proposed object. The external senses, on the other 
hand, are borne to objects posited outside of, not within, 
themselves; but whatever has an existence outside or 
independent of a cognitive power is not a mind-depen- 
dent being. 

Nor does it matter that the senses are deceived in 
many cases, and therefore know only fictively. For the 
external senses are not deceived in themselves, but are 
occasionally said to be deceived from the fact that they 
provide the understanding with an occasion for being 
deceived as sight, for example, on seeing fool's gold, 
is not deceived by judging that it is gold: rather does this 
judgment pertain to the understanding. Sight, for its part, 
apprehends only that colored outward appearance of the 
fool's gold, in which there is not falsity or fiction. 

I say secondly: The internal senses do not form mind- 
dependent beings formally speaking, although material- 
ly they are able to represent that on whose pattern some 
fictive entity is formed, which is to form mind-de- 
pendent beings materially. 

D e a c t u vero f ormante ens ratio- 
nis in duobus etiam potest esse dubi- 
um: Primo, an possit fieri per actum 
absolurum, qualis est operatio simplex, 

5 an requirat aliquem comparativum vel 
compositivum. Secundo, an requirat ac- 
tum reflexum, quo cognoscatur de ip- 
so ente rationis formato tamquam de 
obiecto cognito, ad hoc ut existat; an 

w vero sufficiat actus directus, quo cog- 
noscatur aliquid, quod non est ens, ad 
instar entis. 

Dico PRIMO: Neque voluntas neque 
sensus externi formant entia rationis, 

is ita quod ex vi actuum eorum habeant 

Conclusio est certa et probatur uni- 
ca RATIONE, quia tarn voluntas quam 
sensus externi non formant suum ob- 

20 iectum, sed extra se supponunt forma- 
tum. Ergo non fingunt aliquid intra se, 
sed si respiciunt obiectum fictum, ab 
alio supponunt esse fictum et forma- 

25 Antecedens patet in voluntate, quae 
supponit obiectum propositum per cog- 
nitionem, sive sit verum sive apparens; 
ergo ipsa non facit obiectum, sed in ob- 
iectum propositum fertur. Sensus vero 

30 externi feruntur in obiecta extra se po- 
sita, non intra se; quidquid autem 
habet esse extra potentiam cognoscen- 
tem, non est ens rationis. 

Necobstat, quod sensus falli vide- 

35 atur in multis, atque adeo ficte cog- 
noscere. Non enim fallitur sensus ex- 
ternus in se, sed occasionaliter dicitur 
falli, quia praebet occasionem intellec- 
tui, ut fallatur, sicut visus videns auri- 

40 chalcum non fallitur iudicando, quod 
sit aurum, sed hoc iudicium pertinet 
ad intellectum. Visus autem solum ap- 
prehendit illam apparentiam coloris 
aurichalci, in quo falsitas aut fictio non 

45 est. 

Dico SECUNDO: Sensus interni non 
formant entia rationis formaliter lo- 
quendo, licet materialiter repraesen- 
tare possint id, ad cuius instar forma- 

50 tur aliquod ens fictum, quod est ma- 
terialiter formare entia rationis. 


[301b39-302al6] 67 

We say that the internal senses "formally speaking" do 
not form mind-dependent beings, that is, they do not form 
them by discriminating between mind-dependent being 
and physical being, and by conceiving that which is not 
a being after the pattern of physical being. Materially, how- 
ever, to cognize a mind-dependent being is to attain the 
very appearance of a being physically real, but not to 
discriminate between that which is of the mind and that 
which is of the physical world. 3 For example, the imagin- 
ative power can form a gold mountain, and similarly it 
can construct an animal composed of a she-goat, a lion, 
and a serpent, which is the Chimera [of Greek mythology]. 
But in these constructions the imagination itself attains only 
that which is sensible or representable to sense. Yet in- 
ternal sense does not attain the fact that objects so known 
have a condition relative to non-being, and from this rela- 
tionship condition are said to be constructed, fictive, mind- 
dependent, or mental which is formally to discriminate 
between being and non-being. 

The REASON seems clear: internal sense cannot refer 
to anything except under a sensible rationale; but the fact 
that that which is represented to it as sensible happens 
to be opposed to physical being, does not pertain to in- 
ternal sense to judge, because internal sense does not 

Dicimus ,,formaliter loquendo" non 
formare ilia, id est discernendo inter ens 
rationis et ens reale, et concipiendo id, 
quod non est ens, ad instar entis realis. 

5 Materialiter autem cognoscere ens ratio- 
nis est ipsam apparentiam realis entis 
attingere, sed non discernere inter id, 
quod rationis et realitatis est. 3 V. g. ima- 
ginativa potest formare montem aureum 

w et similiter animal compositum ex capra, 
leone et serpente, quod est chimaera. 
Sed in istis solum attingit id, quod sen- 
sibile seu quoad sensum repraesentabile 
est. Quod autem habeant habitudinem 

15 ad non ens et ex ista habitudine entia 
ficta seu rationis dicantur, quod est f or- 
maliter discernere inter ens et non ens, 
sensus internus non attingit. 

RATIO videtur manifesta, quia sensus 

20 internus non potest ferri in aliquid nisi 
sub ratione sensibilis; quod autem id, 
quod sibi repraesentatur ut sensibile, op- 
ponatur enti reali, ad ipsum non pertinet 
iudicare, quia non concipit ens sub ra- 

3 Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 8. art. 3., Reiser ed., III. 263b41-264all, and 269b47-270al4: "Et non est 
necesse, quod omnia, quae cognoscuntur in intellectu vel sensu interno, sint cognita per sensum externum, 
sed sufficit, quod in specie, quae emittitur ab obiecto et deinde a sensu, virtualiter contineantur ilia omnia 
et explicari possint in potentia superiori. Et sic dicit D. Thomas 1. p. q. 78. art. 4. ad 4., 'quod licet 
operatio intellectus oriatur a sensu, tamen in re apprehensa per sensum intellectus multa cognoscit, quae 
sensus percipere non potest, et similiter aestimativa, licet inferiori modo. ' Itaque bene potest cognosci per 
sensum internum aliquid, quod directe et formaliter a sensu externo non cognoscatur, sed sit modus ali- 
quis seu respectus fundatus in illis sensibilibus et in eis virtualiter contentus.""lt is not necessary 
that everything known in the understanding or cognized by internal sense should be apprehended 
by the external senses. It is enough if all those things are virtually contained in the formal specifica- 
tion that is emitted by the object and then by sense, and can be unfolded in the higher power. 
Thus St. Thomas says in the Summa theologica, I, q. 78, art. 4, reply to objection 4, that 'although 
the operation of the understanding arises out of sense, the understanding yet cognizes many 
facets of the thing apprehended through sense that sense cannot perceive, and the same holds 
for the estimative power, although to a lesser extent.' It can well be, therefore, that something 
can be known through internal sense that is not known directly and formally by external sense, 
but is some modality or respect founded on those sensibles and virtually contained in them." 
(See Book II, Question 2, p. 243 note 8.) "... non colligi, quod potentia sensitiva sit reflexiva, ex 
eo quodformet idolum et mediante illo cognoscat obiectum repraesentatum in illo, dummodo non cognoscat 
ipsum verbum in actu signato et tamquam obiectum cognitum, sed ut medium cognoscendi. Sicut etiam 
non reflectit supra ipsum actum, licet utatur illo tamquam medio cognoscente et tendente ad obiectum, 
sic utitur idolo formato ut repraesentante sibi obiectum extra tamquam termino producto ad repraesentan- 
dum aliud, non ut sentiatur in se, quod requirebatur ad reflexionem.""lt is not to be gathered that 
the sensitive power [i.e., internal sense] is reflexive from the fact that it forms an icon and by 
means of that icon knows the object represented therein, while it does not know the word itself 
[i.e., the icon] as a significate, but as the means of the knowing. Just as sense does not reflect 
upon the act itself of knowing, even though it uses that activity as the means of cognizing and 
tending toward the object, so too does it use the icon formed as representing to itself an exter- 
nal object as a term produced for representing another, not as something sensed within itself, 
which would be required for reflexion." (See below, note 17 and 71/20-72/17; Book II, Ques- 
tions 1 and 2, esp. note 8 of Question 2, p. 243; and Book III, Question 3.) 

68 [302al7-b24] 


conceive of being under the rationale of being. The fact, 
however, of anything's being regarded as a constructed 
or fictive being formally consists in this, that it is known 
to have nothing of entitative reality in the physical world, 
and yet is attained or grasped on the pattern of a phys- 
ical entity; otherwise, no discrimination is made between 
mind-independent being and constructed or fictive being, 
but only that is attained on whose pattern a mind-depen- 
dent being is formed. When this object is something sen- 
sible, there is no reason why it cannot be known by 
sense. But sense attains only that which is sensible in 
an object, whereas the condition relative to the non-being 
in whose place the object is surrogated and whence it 
fictively has being, does not pertain to sense. For this 
reason, sense does not differentiate a constructed being, 
under the formal rationale of being a construct, from a 
true being. 

But that sense is able to know fictive being materially 
is manifestly the case. Not, indeed, from the fact that even 
external sense can, for example, cognize a fictive color 
or appearance, because this color, even though it is the 
color [of a given object] only apparently, is nevertheless 
not a fictive being, but one true and physical, that is to 
say, it is something resulting from light. But that sense 
grasps mind-dependent beings is proved by this fact, that 
internal sense synthesizes many things which outside it- 
self in no way are or can be. Sense therefore knows some- 
thing which is in itself a constructed or fictive being, 
although the fiction itself sense does not apprehend, but 
only that which, in the fictive being, offers itself as sen- 
sible. But sense does not perceive a privation of a prop- 
er object darkness, for example by constructing it in 
the manner of a being, but by not eliciting an act of see- 

I say thirdly: The understanding needs some com- 
parative act in order that mind-dependent beings might 
be formed and be said to exist formally and not only 

This conclusion is taken FROM ST. THOMAS'S Commen- 
tary on the first Book of Aristotle's treatise On Interpreta- 
tion, reading 10, 4 where he says that "the understanding 
forms intentions of this sort" he was discussing univer- 
sals "according as it compares them to the things that 
occur independently of the mind." And in his Disputed 
Questions on the Power of God, q. 7, art. II, 5 he says that 
the mental relations that the understanding invents and 
attributes to the things understood are one thing, but the 
mental relations that result from the mode of understand- 

tione entis. Quod autem aliquid ac- 
cipiatur tamquam ens fictum, formaliter 
consistit in hoc, quod cognoscatur nihil 
entitatis habere in re, et tamen ad instar 

5 entis attingi; alioquin non discernitur in- 
ter ens reale et ens fictum, sed solum at- 
tingitur illud, ad cuius instar formatur 
ens rationis. Quod quando est aliquid 
sensibile, non repugnat a sensu cog- 

w nosci, sed ad sensum solum pertinet id, 
quod in illo de sensibilitate est attingere, 
habitudinem vero ad non ens, cuius loco 
subrogatur et unde ficte habet esse, ad 
sensum non pertinet, et ideo ens fictum 

is sub formali ratione ficti ab ente vero non 

Quod vero ens fictum materialiter 
possit cognoscere sensus, constat mani- 
feste. Non quidem, quia sensus etiam 

20 externus potest v. g. cognoscere colorem 
fictum seu apparentem, quia iste color, 
licet apparenter sit color, non tamen est 
ens fictum, sed verum et reale, scilicet 
aliquid ex luce resultans. Sed ex eo pro- 

25 batur, quia sensus internus multa ad in- 
vicem componit, quae extra se nullo 
modo sunt aut esse possunt. Cognoscit 
ergo aliquid, quod in se est ens fictum, 
licet ipsam fictionem non apprehendat, 

30 sed solum id, quod in illo ente ficto tam- 
quam sensibile se offert. Privationem 
autem proprii obiecti, ut tenebras, sen- 
sus non percipit fingendo illas ad mo- 
dum entis, sed actum videndi non elici- 

35 endo. 

Dico TERTIO: Intellectus indiget ali- 
quo actu comparative, ut entia rationis 
f ormentur et dicantur formaliter esse et 
non solum fundamentaliter. 

40 Haec conclusio sumitur ex Divo Thoma 
1. Periherm. lect. 10., 4 ubi inquit, quod 
huiusmodi intentiones (de universali- 
bus loquebatur) intellectus format, se- 
cundum quod comparat eas ad res, quae 

45 fiunt extra animam. Et q. 7. de Poten- 
tia art. II. 5 inquit, quod relationes ra- 
tionis aliae sunt, quas intellectus invenit 
et attribuit rebus intellects, aliae vero, 

4 Le I. 48. n. 9. 

5 Pa VIII. 166 b. 


[302b24-303a31] 69 

ing are quite another, although the understanding does 
not devise that mode, but proceeds in conformity with 
it. And relations of the first sort the mind indeed brings 
about by considering the ordering of that which is in 
the understanding to the things which are independent 
thereof, or also by considering the ordering of the 
things understood [as such] among themselves; but the 
other relations result from the fact that the under- 
standing understands one thing in an order to another. 
Therefore St. Thomas thinks that all [mind-dependent] 
intentions are formed by some act of comparing or 

every mind-dependent being is either a relation or 
a negation. If a relation, it must be apprehended 
comparatively to a term. If a negation, it must be 
conceived positively on the pattern of being, which 
is to be conceived comparatively to another. If this 
negation is conceived absolutely, it is not conceived 
positively, since in itself it is nothing positive. It must 
therefore be conceived on the pattern of a being 
[i.e., comparatively], not only because, on the side 
of the principle of the knowing, it has to be conceived 
through a physical specification, but also because, 
on the side of the term known, it must be grasped 
on the pattern of a being. And this requires some 
comparative awareness, as, for example, when I con- 
ceive the city of Rome on the pattern of Toledo, I 
conceive Rome comparatively and not absolutely, 
because I conceive it connotatively and respectively 
to another. So too when I conceive a negation on the 
pattern of being, I conceive it, not absolutely, but 
respectively and comparatively. A mind-dependent 
relation, however, because it is of itself expressed 
positively and not negatively, requires a comparative 
cognition on other grounds, specifically, because a 
relation is a kind of comparison to a term, and again 
because it is conceived after the pattern of a phys- 
ical relation, even though it is in itself positively ex- 
pressed. 6 

By the phrase "a comparative act," however, we 
understand not only a compositive, in the sense of a 
judicative, comparison (which pertains to the second 
operation of the mind), but any cognition whatever that 
conceives [its object] with a connotation of and an order- 
ing to another something that can also occur outside of 
the second operation of the mind, as, for example, when 
we apprehend a relation through the order to a terminus. 

quae consequuntur modum intelligendi, 
licet ilium modum intellectus non adin- 
veniat, sed ex modo intelligendi con- 
sequatur. Et primas quidem relationes 

5 ratio adinvenit considerando ordinem 
eius, quod est in intellectu, ad res, quae 
sunt extra, vel etiam ordinem intellectum 
ad invicem; aliae vero consequuntur ex 
eo, quod intellectus intelligit unum in or- 

10 dine ad aliud. Ergo omnes intentiones 
existimat D. Thomas formari per aliquem 
actum comparantem. 

ET RATIO conclusionis est, quia omne 
ens rationis vel est relatio vel aliqua 

15 negatio. Si relatio, debet comparative ap- 
prehendi ad terrninurn. Si negatio, debet 
concipi positive ad instar entis, quod est 
comparative ad alterum. Quae negatio si 
concipitur absolute, non concipitur posi- 

20 tive, cum in se nihil positivum sit. Debet 
ergo concipi ad modum entis, non solum 
quia ex parte principii cognoscendi per 
speciem realem concipi debet, sed etiam 
quia ex parte termini cogniti debet accipi 

25 ad instar entis. Et hoc exigit aliquam 
notitiam comparativam, sicut quando 
concipio Romam ad instar Toleti, com- 
parative concipio Romam et non abso- 
lute, quia connotative et respective ad 

30 aliud. Ita quando negationem concipio 
ad instar entis, non absolute, sed respec- 
tive et comparative concipio illud. Rela- 
tio autem rationis quia positive de se 
dicitur et non negative, aliunde indiget 

35 comparativa cognitione, scilicet quia re- 
latio comparatio quaedam est ad terrni- 
num, et rursus quia ad instar relationis 
realis concipitur, licet in se positive dica- 
tur. 6 

40 Nomine autem actuscomparativi 
non solum intelligimus comparationem 
compositivam vel iudicativam, quae per- 
tinet ad secundam operationem, sed 
quamcumque cognitionem, quae cum 

45 connotatione et ordine ad aliud concipit, 
quod etiam extra secundam operationem 
fieri potest, ut quando apprehendimus 
relationem per ordinem ad terrninurn. 

6 See Article 1 of this Preamble, 53/8-45, and in the Second Preamble, Article 2, esp. 96/1-36, 
in connection with this entire passage (69/13-40). 

70 [303a31-b32] 


A mind-dependent being can also come about as the result 
of a compositive or of a discursive comparison. Indeed, 
because the understanding affirms that there is such a thing 
as blindness, the Philosopher, in his Metaphysics, Book V, 
and St. Thomas in his Commentary thereon (reading 9, n. 
896 7 ) as well as in numerous other places, proves that blind- 
ness is a mind-dependent being. Through that enunciation, 
therefore, whereby something is affirmed of a non-being, 
non-being is conceived positively as if it were a being, 
specifically, through the connotation of the verb "is." 

And I have said in this third conclusion 8 that the 
understanding requires a comparative act "in order that 
mind-dependent beings might be said to exist formally 
and not just fundamentally." For the fundament of a 
mental relation does not require this comparison, as ap- 
pears in the case when a nature is divested of in- 
dividuating conditions by a simple abstraction, and yet 
in such a case there is not an act of comparison, but only 
a precision from particular instances. But then the univer- 
sal is not a logical universal formally, but a metaphysical 
universal, which is the fundament for a logical intention, 
as will be explained in Q. 4 below, "On the Cause of a 
Universal Concept." 

From this you can gather that, in the case of mind- 
dependent relations, there comes about a denomination 
even before the relation itself is known in act through 
a comparison, owing solely to this: that the fundament 
is posited. For example, a nature is denominated universal 
by the very fact that it is abstracted, even before it is ac- 
tually related or compared [to its instances]; and the let- 
ters in a closed book are a sign, even if the relation 
of the sign, which is mind-dependent, is not actually 
considered; 9 and God is denominated Lord, even if the 
relation of a lord is not actually considered, but by reason 
of dominative power. 10 In this, mind-dependent or mental 
relations differ from mind-independent or physical relations, 11 
because mind-independent relations do not denominate 
unless they exist, as, for example, someone is not said 
to be a father unless he actually has a relation to a son; 
nor is one thing said to be similar to another unless it 
has a similarity, even though it might have the funda- 
ment for a similarity. The reason for this difference is that 
in the case of mind-dependent relations, their actual ex- 
istence consists in actually being cognized objective- 
ly, which is something that does not take its origin 









Potest etiam fieri ens rationis per com- 
parationem compositivam aut discursi- 
vam. Imo quia de caecitate intellectus af- 
firmat, quod est, probat Philosophus et 
D. Thomas 5. Metaph. lect. 9. 7 et alibi 
saepe, quod caecitas est ens rationis. Per 
illam ergo enuntiationem, qua de non 
ente affirmatur aliquid, positive conci- 
pitur ac si esset ens, scilicet per conno- 
tationem ad verbum ,,est". 

Et dixi in conclusione, 8 ut entia ratio- 
nis dicantur formaliter esse et non solum 
fundamentaliter. Nam fundamentum 
relationis rationis non requirit istam 
comparationem, ut patet, quando sim- 
plici abstractione denudatur natura a 
conditionibus individuantibus, et tamen 
ibi non est actus comparationis, sed sola 
praecisio ab inferioribus. Sed tune uni- 
versale non est universale logicum for- 
maliter, sed metaphysicum, quod est 
fundamentum intentionis logicae, ut in- 
fra q. 4. dicetur. 

Unde colliges, quod in relationibus 
rationis contingit fieri denorninationem, 
etiam antequam actu cognoscatur per 
comparationem ipsa relatio, solum per 
hoc, quod ponatur fundamentum. V. g. 
natura denominatur universalis hoc ip- 
so, quod abstrahitur, etiam antequam ac- 
tu comparetur; et litterae in libro clause 
sunt signum, etiamsi actu non conside- 
retur relatio signi, quae est rationis, 9 et 
Deus denominatur Dominus, etiamsi ac- 
tu non consideretur relatio domini, sed 
ratione potentiae dominativae. 10 In quo 
differunt relationes rationis a realibus, 11 
quia reales non denominant nisi existant, 
sicut non dicitur aliquis pater, nisi actu 
habeat relationem ad filium, nee similis, 
nisi habeat similitudinem, etiamsi habeat 
fundamentum. Cuius ratio est, quia in re- 
lationibus rationis esse actuale ipsarum 
consistit in actualiter cognosci obiective, 
quod non provenit ex fundamento et ter- 

7 Pa XX. 402 b. 

8 at 68/35-38. 

9 See Book I, Question 1, 127/7-131/18, esp. 127/43-128/6 and 130/10-43; Book II, Question 
5, 275/8-29. 

10 Ibid., esp. 275/25-29. 

11 Cf. Second Preamble, Article 2, 90/41-91/29, and Book II, Question 5, 275/8-41. 


[303b33-304a37] 71 

from the fundament and terminus, but from the under- 
standing. 12 Whence many things could be said of a sub- 
ject by reason of a fundament without the resultance 
of a relation, because this does not follow upon the 
fundament itself and the terminus, but upon cogni- 
tion. But in the case of physical relations, since the 
relation naturally results from the fundament and the 
terminus, nothing belongs in an order to a terminus 
by virtue of a fundament, except by the medium of 
a relation. We understand, however, that this denom- 
ination arises from the proximate fundament absolutely 
speaking, but not in every way, because not under 
that formality by which it is denominated by the re- 
lation as known and existing; for God is denominated 
"Lord" but is not related before the relation. This 
is something that does not occur in cases of physical 
relations, because when the relations do not exist, their 
fundaments in no way denominate in an order to a 

I say fourthly and finally: The cognition forming a 
mind-dependent being is not a reflexive cognition re- 
specting that being as a thing cognized as the object 
which [is known], but rather that direct cognition which 
denominates the very non-mind-independent being (or 
being that is not relative independently of mind) 
"known" on the pattern of a mind-independent being 
or relation is said to form a mind-dependent being. It 
is from that direct cognition that a mind-dependent be- 
ing results. 

The REASON FOR THIS CONCLUSION is clear: such a cogni- 
tion, whereby a mind-dependent being itself is denom- 
inated cognized reflexively and as the "object which," 
supposes the [already] formed mind-dependent being, 
since indeed the cognition is borne upon that being as 
upon rhe terminus cognized. Therefore such a reflexive 
cognition does not initially form that mind-dependent 
being, but supposes its having been formed and, as it 
were, examines that objective construct. Whence a [sub- 
jective] denomination in the one cognizing does not 
come about from the intentions thus reflexively cognized, 
as when a pure spirit or when God perceives intellec- 
tually that a man is syllogizing or forming a proposi- 
tion, God is not on that account said to syllogize or to 
express the proposition, and yet he understands as if 
in a reflexive and signified act the very syllogism and 
proposition and logical intentions. And it is the same 
when anyone understands these intentions by examin- 
ing their nature; for then the very intentions examined 

mino, sed ex intellectu. 12 Unde multa 
poterunt ratione fundamenti dici de sub- 
iecto sine resultantia relationis, quia haec 
non sequitur ipsum fundamentum et 

5 terminum, sed cognitionem. In rela- 
tionibus vero realibus cum relatio na- 
turaliter resultet ex fundamento et ter- 
mino, nihil convenit ex vi fundamenti in 
ordine ad terminum nisi media relatione. 

w Intelligimus autem convenire denomina- 
tionem hanc ratione fundamenti proximi 
absolute loquendo, sed non omni modo, 
quia non sub ilia formalitate, qua de- 
nominatur a relatione ut cognita et ex- 

25 istente; denominatur enim Deus ante 
relationem Dominus, sed non relatus. 
Quod in relationibus realibus non con- 
tingit, quia non existente relatione nullo 
modo denominant in ordine ad termi- 

20 num. 

Dico ULTIMO: Cognitio formans ens 
rationis non est reflexa respiciens ipsum 
tamquam rem cognitam ut quod, sed il- 
ia cognitio directa, quae ipsum non ens 

25 reale vel quod realiter relativum non 
est, denominat cognitum ad instar en- 
tis vel relationis realis, dicitur formare 
vel ex ilia resultare ens rationis. 

RATIO est manifesta, quia talis cog- 

30 nitio, qua ipsum ens rationis denomina- 
tur cognitum reflexe et tamquam quod, 
supponit ens rationis formatum, siqui- 
dem super ipsum fertur tamquam super 
terminum cognitum. Ergo talis cognitio 

35 reflexa non primo format ipsum, sed 
supponit formatum et quasi speculatur 
ipsum ens rationis. Unde ab intentioni- 
bus sic reflexe cognitis non fit denomi- 
natio in cognoscentem, sicut quando 

40 angelus vel Deus intelligit hominem 
syllogizare aut propositionem formare, 
non propterea dicitur Deus syllogizare 
vel enuntiare, et tamen intelligit quasi in 
actu reflexo et signato ipsum syllogis- 

45 mum et propositionem et intentiones 
logicas. Et idem est, quando aliquis in- 
telligit istas intentiones speculando 
naturam earum; tune enim non forman- 

12 See, however, Book I, Question 6, 212/21-34, and above in the present Article, 66/47-68/34, 
esp. 67/5-9. 

72 [304a37-b42] 


are not formed, but upon them others are founded, 
inasmuch as they are cognized in general or by way 
of predication, etc. And so St. Thomas says, in chapter 
3 of his Treatise on the Nature of a Genus, that a men- 
tal construct or being is effected precisely when the 
understanding attempts to apprehend something that 
is not, and for this reason constructs that non-being 
as if it were a being. And in Book I of his Commentary 
on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, dist. 2, q. 1, art. 3, 14 
he says that intentions result "from the mode of un- 
derstanding extramental reality." What formally and 
essentially forms initially mind-dependent being is not, 
therefore, the reflexive cognition whereby precisely a 
mind-dependent being is denominated cognized as be- 
ing mind-dependent, but the cognition whereby that 
which is not is denominated cognized on the pattern 
of that which is. 


First, it is argued: Many other powers be- 
sides the understanding are concerned with non-beings 
by attaining and ordering them on the pattern of phys- 
ical being; therefore these other powers will also form 
mind-dependent beings. 

The antecedent is proved in the case of the 
will and of internal sense. For the will reaches out to- 
ward an apparent good which is not a good in fact; 
it also orders one good to another as means to end, 
which sometimes is not truly a means nor truly or- 
dered. Therefore it compares one object to another by 
a relation not existing in fact, which is to form a mind- 
dependent being. 

Similarly sense, especially internal sense, com- 
pares one object to another by forming propositions 
and discourse concerning singulars, and, out of diverse 
kinds of things, sense forms a fictive or constructed 
being, such as, for example, a gold mountain out of 
gold and a mountain, as St. Thomas teaches in the 
Summa theologica, I, q. 12, art. 9, reply to obj. 2. 
Therefore sense apprehends constructed or fictive 
beings. And, generally, from each sense follows the 
extrinsic denomination of being known, which is a 
mind-dependent being. 

The response to this argument is: I deny the ante- 
cedent. To the proof, 15 the response is that the will, since 
it bears on an apprehended object, does not know that 
object formally, nor does the will give it being through 

tur ipsae intentiones speculatae, sed 
super ipsas fundantur aliae, quatenus 
cognoscuntur in universali vel per mo- 
dum praedicationis etc. Et ita dicit S. 

5 Thomas opusc. 42. cap. 3., 13 quod tune 
efficitur ens rationis, quando intellectus 
nititur apprehendere, quod non est, et 
ideo fingit illud, ac si ens esset. Et in 1. 
Sentent. dist. 2. q. 1. art. 3. 14 dicit, quod 

w intentiones consequuntur ex modo in- 
telligendi rem extra animam. Non ergo 
cognitio reflexa, qua praecise ens rationis 
denominatur cognitum ut quod, sed qua 
denominatur cognitum ad instar entis id, 

35 quod non est, formaliter et per se primo 
format ens rationis. 


Primo arguitur: Nam multae aliae po- 

20 tentiae praeter intellectum versantur cir- 
ca non entia, attingendo ilia et ordinando 
ad instar entis realis; ergo etiam forma- 
bunt entia rationis. 

Antecedens probatur in volun- 

25 tate et sensu interne. Nam voluntas ten- 
dit appetendo in bonum apparens, quod 
non est bonum in re; ordinat etiam 
unum ad aliud ut medium in finem, 
quod aliquando vere non est medium 

30 nee vere ordinatur. Ergo comparat unum 
alteri comparatione non existente in re, 
quod est formare ens rationis. 

Similiter sensus, praesertim internus, 
comparat unum alteri, formando pro- 

35 positiones et discursus circa singularia, 
et ex speciebus diversis format ens fic- 
tum, ut ex auro et monte montem aure- 
um, ut docet D. Thomas 1. p. q. 12. art. 
9. ad 2. Ergo cognoscit entia ficta. Et 

40 generaliter ex omni sensu consequitur 
denominatio extrinseca cogniti, quae est 
ens rationis. 

RESPONDETUR: Negatur antecedens. 
Ad probationem 15 respondetur, quod 

45 voluntas cum feratur in obiectum cogni- 
tum et apprehensum, formaliter non 
cognoscit illud nee dat illi esse per ra- 

13 De natura generis (Pa XVII. 10 a). 

14 Pa VI. 23 b. 

15 72/25-32. 


[304b42-305a25] 73 

the mind, but that which results from the act of the 
appetite is rather a kind of extrinsic denomination, 
which is indeed a mind-dependent being fundamen- 
tally; but only when it is actually known after the pat- 
tern of a mind-independent form or relation does it ex- 
ist in act [i.e., formally]. The will itself therefore does 
not construct the apparent good, but supposes an ob- 
ject known and proposed to itself, and so does not form 
the object. But the ordination of a means to an end is 
also proposed to the will by the understanding. The 
will effects that ordination only by desiring, not by 
perceiving. Such an ordination certainly posits an ex- 
trinsic denomination in the thing ordinately willed, but 
it does not formally render the mind-dependent be- 
ing known. 

To that which is added concerning sense, 16 the 
response is that internal sense so compares or relates 
one thing to another by forming a proposition and dis- 
course, that the sense does not formally cognize the 
very ordination of predicate and of subject and of 
antecedent to consequent by distinguishing a fictive 
from a physical relation. 17 And similarly, sense cog- 
nizes a gold mountain as regards that which is sen- 
sible in those represented parts of gold and a moun- 
tain, not as regards the rationale of the construction 
or fiction as distinguished from a mind-independent 

tionem, sed solum id, quod resultat ex ac- 
tu appetitus, est aliqua denominatio ex- 
trinseca, quae quidem est ens rationis fun- 
damentaliter; quando autem actu cogno- 

5 scitur ad instar formae seu relationis realis, 
tune existit actu. Bonum ergo apparens vo- 
luntas ipsa non fingit, sed cognitum et sibi 
propositum supponit, et sic non format ip- 
sum. Ordinatio autem medii ad finem 

w etiam sibi proponitur ab intellectu, ipsa 
vero solum appetendo ordinat, non agno- 
scendo. Talis autem ordinatio ponit quidem 
denominationem extrinsecam in re ordi- 
nate volita, non formaliter reddit ens ra- 

15 tionis cognitum. 

Ad id, quod additur de sensu respon- 
detur, quod sensus internus ita comparat 
unum alteri formando propositionem 
et discursum, quod ipsam ordinationem 

20 praedicati et subiecti, et antecedentis ad 
consequens formaliter non cognoscit dis- 
cernendo relationem fictam a reali. 17 Et 
similiter montem aureum cognoscit quan- 
tum ad id, quod sensibile est in illis par- 

25 tibus repraesentatis auri et mentis, non 
quantum ad rationem fictionis, ut distin- 

16 72/33-43. 

17 Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 8. art. 3., Reiser ed. III. 263bl3-41: "... non cognosci relationes a sensu 
interne sub proprio modo relationis, scilicet cum comparatione ad terminum vel discursu neque in univer- 
sali, sed ut se tenent ex parte fundamenti seu ut exercentur in illo, non ut in actu signato et secundum 
se relatio potest apprehendi. Fundamentum autem est res ipsa sensibilis prout convenientiam vel disconve- 
nientiam fundat. Sic autem non sentitur a sensu externo, quia illud fundare convenientiam vel disconve- 
nientiam non est color vel sonum aut odor vel aliquid, quod sensu externo percipitur, ipsa tamen relatio 
ut condistincta a fundamento et ut comparative accepta ad terminum non attingitur per aestimativam sine 
collatione. Et cum dicitur, quod tales relationes non sunt aliquo modo sensibiles per se vel per accidens, 
respondetur, quod directe non sunt aliquod tale sensibile nee formaliter, bene tamen fundamentaliter, quatenus 
in illis fundantur, sicut in natura et qualitatibus lupi fundatur contrarietas ad ovem."- -"Relations are 
not known by internal sense under the modality proper to relation, that is to say, with a com- 
parison to a term or by discourse, nor are they known in general, but as they obtain on the 
side of the fundament or as they are exercised therein, not as relation can be apprehended as 
an actual significate and according to its own being. But the foundation of the relations knowable 
by internal sense [e.g., 263a38-39, 265b21: aversion, friendliness, offspring, hostility, parents, 
etc.] is the sensible thing itself according as it founds harmony [utility] or disharmony [harm- 
fulness]. But the sensible thing is not sensed in this way by external sense, because that found- 
ing of harmony or discord is not color or sound or smell or anything that is perceived by exter- 
nal sense, yet the relation itself as contrasted to [counterdistinguished from] the fundament and 
as understood comparatively to the terminus is not attained in perceptual evaluation without 
collation [i.e., the sort of comparison that is possible only consequent on the capacity for 
understanding the related things as existing independently of the interests of the perceiving 
organism] . And when it is said that relations of the sorts in question are not in any way sensible 
directly or indirectly, the answer is that directly they are not anything thus sensible nor are they 
formally sensible, but they are indeed sensible fundamentally, insofar as they are founded in 
those sensible individuals, as, for example, inimicality-to-a-sheep is founded in the nature and 
qualities of a wolf." See further note 3 above, and Book II, Question 2, notes 3, 8, and 27. 

74 [305a25-b28] 


reality. To cognize in this regard is to cognize not formally 
that which is constructed in the rationale of a being, but 
materially that on whose pattern is constructed that which 
in itself is not. But the extrinsic denomination that follows 
on the cognition of sense, insofar as an extrinsic denom- 
ination is not a mind-dependent relation formally but 
fundamentally, is then a mind-dependent relation for- 
mally when it is cognized on the pattern of a [mind- 
independent] relation. 

Second, it is argued: A simple apprehension 
of the understanding does not compare or distinguish 
the rationale of fictive or constructed being from the 
rationale of true being. If it did, it would not be a sim- 
ple apprehension, but one comparative or compositive 
with another. Therefore the understanding, when it 
simply apprehends, does not form a mind-dependent 
being formally speaking, as neither do the internal 

This is confirmed by the fact that a simple ap- 
prehension is not a construct nor a fiction; for a construct 
may be false, whereas a simple apprehension is always 
true, precisely because it represents a thing as it is in itself 
or as it is proposed to the apprehension. Therefore the 
object of a simple apprehension is not a constructed or 
fictive being, and consequently is not a mind-dependent 

The response to this argument 18 is that simple ap- 
prehension does not compare one thing to another by 
affirming or denying, but it does indeed compare by dif- 
ferentiating one thing from another and by attaining the 
order of one thing to another, just as it knows things that 
are relative and attains the definition of a thing, the con- 
gruity of terms, and the distinction of categories. Whence 
in discussing the categories, according to the Philosopher, 
one treats of simple apprehension, as St. Thomas says 
in his Commentary on the first Book of Aristotle's treatise 
On Interpretation, reading I. 19 Simple apprehension, 
therefore, has enough comparison for forming a mind- 
dependent being. Moreover, we do not deny to internal 
sense the formation of a mind-dependent being on the 
grounds of the absence of comparison, but on the grounds 
of the absence of a knowing of universality, because sense 
does not cognize the more universal rationales by dis- 
criminating between true being and constructed or fic- 
tive being, which is something that simple apprehension 
does do; for simple apprehension discriminates between 
categorial things and those things that are not in a 
category of mind-independent being. 

guitur a realitate. Quod est cognoscere 
non formaliter id, quod in ratione entis 
fingitur, sed materialiter id, ad cuius in- 
star fingitur, quod in se non est. Deno- 

5 minatio autem extrinseca, quae sequitur 
ad cognitionem sensus, in quantum de- 
nominatio extrinseca non est formaliter 
relatio rationis, sed fundamentaliter, 
tune autem est formaliter, quando ad in- 

w star relationis cognoscitur. 

Secundo arguitur: Simplex appre- 
hensio intellectus etiam non comparat 
neque discernit rationem ficti a ratione 
entis veri, quia alias non esset simplex 

25 apprehensio, sed comparativa seu com- 
positiva cum altero. Ergo non format ens 
rationis formaliter loquendo, sicut neque 
sensus interni. 

Et confirmatur, quia simplex ap- 

20 prehensio non est fictio; fictio enim 
falsitati subiecta est, simplex autem ap- 
prehensio semper est vera, quia praecise 
repraesentat rem, ut est in se seu ut pro- 
ponitur sibi. Ergo eius obiectum non est 

25 ens fictum, et consequenter neque ens 

RESPONDETUR, 18 quod simplex appre- 
hensio non comparat unum alteri af- 
firmando vel negando, bene tamen 

30 discernendo unum ab alio et ordinem 
unius ad alterum attingendo, sicut cog- 
noscit relativa et attingit definitionem 
rei et congruitatem terminorum ac 
praedicamentorum distinctionem. Unde 

35 in praedicamentis secundum Philo- 
sophum agitur de simplici apprehen- 
sione, ut dicit S. Thomas 1. Periherm. 
lect. I. 19 Habet ergo sufficientem com- 
parationem ad formandum ens rationis. 

40 Sensui autem interiori non negamus for- 
mationem entis rationis ex defectu com- 
parationis, sed ex defectu universalitatis 
cognoscendi, quia non cognoscit univer- 
saliores rationes discernendo inter ens 

45 verum et fictum, quod tamen facit sim- 
plex apprehensio; discernit enim prae- 
dicamenta ab iis, quae in praedicamen- 
to non sunt. 

18 74/10-18. 

19 Le I. 7. n. 2. et 

n. 5. 


[305b29-306a36] 75 

To the confirmation 20 1 answer that a simple apprehen- 
sion is not a construction (or fiction) in the way of an enun- 
ciation by affirming or denying, in which consists the con- 
struction (or fiction) that is a deception or falsity; but a sim- 
ple apprehension can well be a construction (or fiction) in 5 
the way of formation, by apprehending something which 
is not in fact, or by apprehending something impossible 
after the manner of a being and differentiating that impossi- 
ble thing from a true and physical being. Whence simple 
apprehension does not always apprehend a thing as it is w 
in itself, in the sense of never apprehending one thing on 
the pattern of another, because we apprehend many things 
not through proper concepts but through connotative ones; 
but simple apprehension does apprehend a thing as it is 
in itself in the sense of apprehending it without the addi- 15 
tion of a composition, by reason of which it is also said that 
simple apprehension is not false, because formally it does 
not judge nor enunciate, in which alone consists formal 
truth or falsity. But simple apprehension can very well ap- 
prehend something that is not on the pattern of that which 20 
is, without affirming or denying. 

Finally, it is argued: A mind-dependent being 
can exist even without a comparative act, therefore it can 
also be formed without a comparative act. 

The antecedent is proved: In the first place, 25 
when in the very exercise some proposition or syllogism 
is formed, a second intention results and the proposition 
itself is denominated being, and yet a relation is not then 
known comparatively to its term or on the pattern of a mind- 
independent relation. Likewise, when a mind-dependent 30 
being is itself said to be known reflexively, it has existence 
through this being known, since indeed it objectively ter- 
minates the cognition, which is what it is to exist objective- 
ly. Nor is there any reason why a mind-independent or 
physical nature conceived and known in general should be 35 
said to exist objectively, but a mind-dependent being known 
in general should not be said to exist objectively. A mind- 
dependent being is known in general, however, when it 
is reflexively rendered known and expressed in act. Final- 
ly, the Philosopher, in the fifth book of his Metaphysics, 21 40 
and St. Thomas, in his Commentary thereon, reading 9, a say 
that blindness and any mind-dependent being whatever is 
said to be from this, that the proposition is true whereby 
we say, "Blindness exists." But when this proposition is 
formed, privation is not considered on the pattern of a 45 
being, nor does that comparative act [i.e., the act of 
cognitively comparing a non-being to a being] occur; there- 

Ad confirmationem 20 dicitur, quod 
simplex apprehensio non est fictio per mo- 
dum enuntiationis affirmando vel negan- 
do, in quo consistit fictio, quae est deceptio 
seu falsitas; sed bene potest esse fictio per 
modum formationis, apprehendendo ali- 
quid, quod in re non est, seu rem impos- 
sibilem ad modum entis et discernendo 
ipsum ab ente vero et reali. Unde non 
semper apprehendit rem, ut est in se, 
quasi numquam ad instar alterius, cum 
plura apprehendamus non per proprios 
conceptus, sed per connotativos; sed ap- 
prehendit, ut est in se, id est sine additione 
compositionis, ratione cuius dicitur etiam, 
quod simplex apprehensio non est falsa, 
quia formaliter non iudicat neque enun- 
tiat, in quo solum consistit veritas vel 
falsitas formalis. Bene tamen potest ali- 
quid, quod non est, apprehendere ad in- 
star eius, quod est, sine hoc, quod affirmet 
vel neget. 

Ultimo arguitur: Nam ens rationis etiam 
sine actu comparativo potest existere, ergo 
et formari. 

Antecedens probatur: Namimprimis 
quando in ipso exercitio formatur aliqua pro- 
positio vel syllogismus, resultat secunda in- 
tentio et ipsa propositio denominatur esse, 
et tamen tune non cognoscitur comparative 
relatio ad suum terminum vel ad instar rela- 
tionis realis. Item quando ipsum ens rationis 
reflexe dicitur cognitum, per hoc cognosci 
habet esse, siquidem obiective terminat cog- 
nitionem, quod est obiective existere. Nee est 
aliqua ratio, cur natura realis in communi 
concepta et cognita dicatur esse obiective, 
ens autem rationis cognitum in communi 
non dicatur .existere obiective. Cognoscitur 
autem in communi, quando reflexe et in 
actu signato redditur cognitum. Denique 
Philosophus in 5. Metaph. 21 et Divus 
Thomas ibi lect. 9. 12 dicunt, quod caecitas et 
quodlibet ens rationis dicitur esse ex hoc, 
quod vera est propositio, qua dicimus: Cae- 
citas est. Sed quando formatur haec propo- 
sitio, non consideratur privatio ad instar en- 

20 74/19.26. 

21 c. 7. (1017 a 31). 

22 Pa XX. 402 a. 

76 [306a36-b45] 


fore without such an act a mind-dependent being 
exists formally. 

The response to this is: I deny the antecedent. 
To the first proof 23 it is said that when a proposi- 
tion is formed, there is not yet the second intention 
of the proposition formally, but fundamentally proxi- 
mately; just as when a universal nature is abstracted 
from singulars, there is not yet an intention of 
universality, but its fundament. Nevertheless the 
proposition and syllogism is denominated by the 
very fact that it is formed in exercise, just as some- 
thing is denominated a metaphysical universal by 
the very fact that it is abstracted. For, as we have 
said above, 24 the denomination of a mind-depen- 
dent form can be had even from the proximate fun- 
dament itself, before the mind-dependent form is 
formally cognized and existing. 

To the second proof 25 it is said that when a 
mind-dependent being is cognized reflexively, it 
exists objectively as denominated extrinsically in 
cognized being, not as initially formed. But to ter- 
minate cognition as if extrinsically and as that upon 
which cognition falls, is not to be formed in a ra- 
tionale of being [mind-dependent or mind-indepen- 
dent], but to be supposed as formed, and, thus 
presupposed, to be denominated by a reflexive cog- 
nition, which is as second, not first, in respect of the 
mind-dependent being. But when mind-dependent 
being is cognized in general, it is not said to be 
formed, because it is supposed as formed already; 
but the very universality or community under which 
it is cognized is formed. A mind-independent or 
physical nature, likewise, when it is cognized in 
general, is not that which is formed, but its uni- 
versality, which is then first taken on the pattern of 
relation, when the object is cognized relatively to its 

To the final proof 26 the answer is that when that 
proposition, "Blindness exists," is formed, blind- 
ness is considered in the very exercise as existing, 
and therefore on the pattern of a mind-independent 
being, and so it is then a mind-dependent being for- 
mally, and is then cognized comparatively as much 
in respect of its predicate as in respect of that on 
whose pattern it is conceived as existing. 27 







tis nee fit actus comparativus; ergo sine tali 
actu existit formaliter ens rationis. 

RESPONDETUR: Negatur antecedens. Ad 
primam probationem 23 dicitur, quodquan- 
do formatur propositio, non est adhuc forma- 
liter secunda intentio propositionis, sed fun- 
damentaliter proxime; sicut quando abstra- 
hitur natura universalis a singularibus, non- 
dum est intentio universalitatis, sed funda- 
mentum eius. Denominatur tamen propositio 
et syllogismus hoc ipso, quod formatur in ex- 
ercitio, sicut denominatur aliquid universale 
metaphysicum hoc ipso, quod abstrahitur. 
Nam, ut supra 24 diximus, denominatio for- 
mae rationis etiarn ex ipso fundamento prox- 
imo potest haberi, antequam formaliter cog- 
noscatur et existat forma rationis. 

Ad secundam probationem 25 dici- 
tur, quod ens rationis quando cognoscitur 
reflexe, existit obiective, ut denominatum 
extrinsece in esse cogniti, non ut primo 
formatum. Terminare autem cognitionem 
quasi extrinsece et tamquam id, super quod 
cadit cognitio, non est formari in ratione 
entis, sed formatum supponi, et sic prae- 
suppositum denominari a cognitione re- 
flexa, quae est quasi secunda, non prima 
respectu entis rationis. Quando autem cog- 
noscitur ens rationis in communi, non dici- 
tur formari, quia iam formatum supponi- 
tur; sed formatur ipsa universalitas seu 
communitas, sub qua cognoscitur. Natura 
autem realis quando cognoscitur in univer- 
sali, non ipsa est, quae formatur, sed uni- 
versalitas eius, quae tune primo ad instar 
relationis accipitur, cum obiectum relative 
cognoscitur ad inferiora. 

Ad ultimam probationem 26 dicitur, 
quod quando formatur ilia propositio: Cae- 
citas est, in ipso exercitio consideratur 
caecitas ut existens, atque adeo ad instar en- 
tis realis, et sic formaliter tune est ens ra- 
tionis, et tune cognoscitur comparative tam 
respectu sui praedicati quam respectu eius, 
ad cuius instar concipitur ut existens. 27 

23 75/25-30. 

24 70/24-71/19, and Article 1, esp. 54/31-55/2. 

25 75/30-39. 

26 75/40-76/2. 

27 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "et per hoc constituitur ens rationis" "and it is through this that 
it is constituted a mind-dependent being." 

T 1 1 


* %.t i c A ( 

I f\J I 5 A %l 

// R E 

]>. F- I C) A N N 

D E S. T H O M A 

Ll B >N1 r. N SI 

Ortfinis ?r*d 'arum t 


E R T I A 1: V> 1 1* K> CAST I G A 1 1 O R * 


Mr iv ' -* t Maneipnu 

S F P L a } O & V M 

Title page from the 1637 Rome edition of the Second Part of the Ars Logica. This is actually the 
fourth edition containing the Prima Pars of the Ars Logica (see p. 113 below), but only the second 
edition of the Secunda Pars as such. The volume was issued as part of the first general edition of 
Poinsot's completed Cursus Philosophicus, and it is from the general title given to the volumes of 
the Natural Philosophy in this edition that the Cursus Philosophicus gets it most proper name. 
Discussion in note 5, p. 396 below. Photograph courtesy of Norma Elia Cantu. 

Praeambulum Secundum: 


Second Preamble: 


* In the original Latin: "Quaestio XVII. De Praedicamento Relationis." Logica 2. p.: "Question 
17. On the Category of Relation." 




Whether There Exist on the Side of Mind-Independent Being 
Intrinsic Forms Which Are Relations 


Utrum a Parte Rei Dentur Relationes, 
Quae Sint Formae Intrinsecae 

When speaking of relation in its entire latitude, as 
it comprehends transcendental and categorial, accord- 
ing to the way being must be expressed in discourse 
and according to the way relation has being, I find no 
one who completely denies all relation. For even the 
ancient philosophers did not deny relations according 
to the way being must be expressed in discourse, as 
is clear from the text of the chapter on "Relation" in 
Aristotle's Categories, although in the same chapter 
Aristotle established against those ancients the cate- 
gorial relation, which differs entirely from an absolute 
being. 1 

Speaking therefore of relations in this sense, which 
applies to relations only according to the way they have 
being as distinguished from every subjective or "abso- 
lute" entity, some have thought that relations are 
nothing but either extrinsic denominations or some- 
thing mind-dependent; which view is customarily attri- 
buted to the Nominalists and to those who do not dis- 
tinguish mind-independent relations from a funda- 
ment. But these last speak in a far different sense, as 
we will see below when we treat the difficulty. Final- 
ly, some think that relations do not belong to things 
except according to objective being, and are only in- 
tentional affections or conditions by which we com- 
pare one thing to another. Whence they constitute rela- 
tions [i.e., make them consist] not in a respect, but in 

Loquendo de relatione in tota sua lati- 
tudine, ut comprehendit transcendentalem 
et praedicamentalem, secundum dici et se- 
cundum esse, non invenio, qui absolute 

5 negaverit omnem relationem. Nam etiam 
antiqui philosophi non negabant relationes 
secundum dici, ut ex textu cap. ,,Ad ali- 
quid" constat, licet praedicamentalem re- 
lationem, quae omnino ab absolute ente 

30 differat Aristoteles contra illos ibidem sta- 
tuerit. 1 

Loquendo ergo de relationibus in hac 
sententia prout distinguuntur ab omni 
entitate absoluta quod solum convenit 

25 relationibus secundum esse, aliqui exis- 
timaverunt nihil aliud esse quam vel de- 
nominationes extrinsecas vel aliquid ra- 
tionis; quod Nominalibus attribui solet et 
illis, qui relationes reales a fundamento 

20 non distinguunt. Sed isti ultimi in sensu 
longe diverse loquuntur, ut infra videbi- 
mus tractando difficultatem. Denique alii 
existimant relationes non convenire rebus 
nisi secundum esse obiectivum et solum 

25 esse intentionales affectiones, quibus rem 
unam alteri comparamus. Unde non in re- 
spectu, sed in comparatione relationes con- 

1 Categ. c. 7. (6 a 36 - 8 b 24). 


[574a3-bl4] 81 

a comparison; in the order of physical being, in contrast to 
objective being, however, all relations are according to the 
way being must be expressed in discourse, because a re- 
lated thing is nothing but an independent or absolute thing 
known through a comparison to another. And they want 
this to be the opinion of Aristotle in the chapter on "Rela- 
tion" in the Categories, and in Book V of the Metaphysics, 
chap. 15. 2 And others cite St. Thomas's Summa theologica, 
I-II, q. 7, art. 2, reply to obj. 1, where he teaches that some- 
thing is denominated relative not only from that which is 
in it, but also from that which touches it from the outside. 

However, that we may start our own consideration 
from this last point, in no way can this opinion be ascribed 
to the Philosopher, because in the chapter on "Relation" 
he manifestly rejects the definition of the ancients, who 
defined relatives only according to the way being must 
be expressed in discourse, by the fact that it followed from 
their definition that even substance, along with any being 
whatever that is expressed with a dependence on and a 
comparison to another, is something relative. But Aris- 
totle in defining relatives says that "they are those things 
whose entire being consists in bearing toward another." 
But in the opinion of those who posit relations only ac- 
cording to the way being must be expressed in discourse, 
the whole being of relatives does not bear toward another, 
since indeed the being which they have independently 
of mind is absolute, but they have a respect only because 
they are cognized comparatively to another. Therefore Ar- 
istotle's definition of relations as things whose whole 
being exists toward another does not apply to such rela- 
tives. Whence in vain would Aristotle have emended the 
definition of the ancients, had he posited relations only 
according to the way being must be expressed in dis- 
course; for the ancients did not deny them, nor that they 
are cognized comparatively to another. And therefore Ca- 
jetan well noted in his Commentary on this chapter, "Re- 
lation," that in this definition, the Philosopher has de- 
fined relation according to the nature which it has, not 
according to that which is cognized or expressed, and 
therefore he said "are a relation to something" but not 
"are expressed in relation to something"; but in the def- 
inition of the ancients it was said "are expressed in rela- 
tion to something." Therefore the Philosopher posited 
mind-independent relations distinct from relations ac- 
cording to the way being must be expressed in discourse. 

There can be no doubt what THE OPINION OF ST. 
THOMAS is, for he expressly argues against those who said 
that relation is not a thing of nature, but something of 
the mind. See the Summa theologica I, q. 13, art. 7; q. 28, 

stituunt; in re autem omnes relationes esse 
secundum did, quia nihil aliud est relatum 
quam res absoluta cognita per comparatio- 
nem ad aliud. Et volunt hanc esse Aristo- 

s telis sententiam in isto cap. Ad aliquid 
et 5. Metaph. cap. 15. 2 Et alii citant D. 
Thomam 1. 2. q. 7. art. 2. ad 1., ubi docet 
relatum denominari aliquid non solum ab 
eo, quod inest, sed etiam ab eo, quod ex- 

w trinsecus adiacet. 

Ceterum, ut ab hoc ultimo incipiamus, 
nullatenus potest haec sententia Philoso- 
pho adscribi, cum manifeste in cap. Ad ali- 
quid reiciat definitionem antiquorum, qui 

is solum definierunt relativa secundum dici, 
eo quod ex eorum definitione sequebatur 
etiam substantiam esse relatam et quodcum- 
que ens, quod cum dependentia et compa- 
ratione ad alterum dicitur. Aristoteles vero 

20 definiens relata dicit, quod sunt ilia, quo- 
rum totum suum esse se habet ad aliud. 
Sed in sententia eorum, qui solum ponunt 
relationes secundum dici, non totum esse 
relatorum se habet ad aliud, siquidem esse, 

25 quod habent in re, est absolutum, solum 
vero habent respectum, quia cognoscuntur 
comparative ad aliud. Ergo talibus relatis 
non convenit definitio Aristotelis, quorum 
totum esse se habet ad aliud. Unde frustra 

30 Aristoteles emendaret definitionem anti- 
quorum, si solum poneret relationes secun- 
dum dici; eas enim non negabant antiqui, 
neque quod comparative ad aliud cogno- 
scerentur. Et ideo bene notavit Caietanus 

35 in Comment, huius cap. Ad aliquid, quod 
in hac definitione Philosophus definivit re- 
lationem secundum naturam, quam habet, 
non secundum quod cognoscitur vel dici- 
tur, et ideo dixit ,,ad aliquid sunt" non vero 

40 ,,ad aliquid dicuntur"; in definitione vero 
antiquorum dicebatur ,, ad aliquid dicun- 
tur". Ergo Philosophus relationes reales 
posuit distinctas a relationibus secundum 

45 De mente S. Thomae nullatenus dubi- 
tari potest, cum ex professo impugnet eos, 
qui dicebant relationem non esse rem na- 
turae, sed aliquid rationis. Videatur 1. p. 
q. 13. art. 7. et q. 28. art. 2. et q. 39. art. 

2 1020 b 26. 

82 [574bl4-575al9] 


art. 2; and q. 39, art. 1. See also the Summa contra gentiles, 
Book II, chap. 12; the Disputed Questions on the Power of God, 
q. 7, arts. 8 and 9, 3 and q. 8, art. 2. 4 And in a thousand other 
passages, but particularly in these, St. Thomas clearly af- 
firms that relation is something mind-independent and an 
inhering accident. 

THE FOUNDATION OF THIS VIEW is the fact that relations 
according to the way being must be expressed in discourse 
have an absolute being and are not totally toward another; 
mind-dependent relations do not exist except in an appre- 
hension of the understanding, from which they have an ob- 
jective act of being; but apart from any consideration of the 
mind, some things are encountered in reality which have 
no being other than a being toward another. Therefore 
physical relations are encountered, which are not according 
to the way being must be expressed in discourse, and so 
can constitute a category apart from [the categories of] "ab- 
solute" mind-independent beings. 

The antecedent 5 is proved, because, apart from the 
mind's consideration, there are encountered in reality some 
things to which can be assigned no relatively independent 
or absolute being. For order is encountered for example, 
an army on parade, the ordered physical universe; simili- 
tude, dependence, parenthood, and other like things are 
encountered, which cannot be explained by any absolute 
being, and the whole content or being in these things pos- 
sesses itself relative to another. The sign of this is the fact 
that when the terminus becomes nonexistent, the similitude 
or parenthood disappears. But if the being of those things 
were something absolute, it would not disappear solely in 
consequence of the disappearance of the term. But to deny 
that these things are given in the order of mind-independent 
being when no finite intelligence is forming and construct- 
ing them, is to deny that which even the most unlearned 
of men recognize in nature. 

This reason is often used by St. Thomas, and he indicates 
another in the first Book of the Commentary on the Sentences 
Written for Annibald, dist. 26, q. 2, art. I, 6 culled from the 
believed fact of there being divine relations, which, insofar 
as they are mutually distinguished, are given independently 
of the finite mind, for otherwise the relative persons would 
not be distinguished independently of the finite mind, 
which would be a heretical assertion. But the divine rela- 
tions are not distinguished except as pure relations are ac- 
cording to the way they have their being. For if they were 
distinguished other than in a pure relation, there would be 

1., et 2. Contra Gent. cap. 12. et q. 7. 
de Potentia art. 8. et 9. 3 et q. 8. de Po- 
tentia art. 2. 4 Et mille aliis locis, sed 
praecipue in istis clare affirmat relatio- 

5 nem esse aliquid reale et accidens in- 

FUNDAMENTUM EST, quia relationes 
secundum dici habent esse absolutum 
et non totum sunt ad aliud; relationes 

20 rationis non sunt nisi in intellectu appre- 
hendente, a quo habent esse obiecti- 
vum; sed in re nullo intellectu conside- 
rante inveniuntur aliqua non habentia 
aliud esse quam ad aliud. Ergo inveni- 

35 untur relationes reales, quae non sunt 
secundum dici et sic praedicamentum 
seorsum a rebus absolutis possunt con- 

Antecedens 5 probatur, quia nullo in- 

20 tellectu considerante inveniuntur in re 
aliqua, quibus nullum esse absolutum as- 
signari potest. Invenitur enim ordo, ut ex- 
ercitus ordinatus, universum ordinatum; 
invenitur similitude, dependentia, pater- 

25 nitas et alia similia, quae nullo esse ab- 
solute explicari possunt, et totum esse in 
eis se habet ad alterum. Cuius signum est, 
quia non existente termino deficit simili- 
tude aut paternitas. Si autem esse illorum 

30 esset quid absolutum, non deficeret ex 
solo defectu termini. Negare vero, quod 
ista in re dentur nullo intellectu formante 
et fingente ilia, est negare id, quod vel rus- 
ticissimi homines in re dari cognoscunt. 

35 Hac ratione utitur saepe D. Thomas 
aliamque indicat in 1. ad Annibaldum 
dist. 26. q. 2. art. I. 6 petitam ex relationi- 
bus divinis, quae in quantum distingu- 
untur inter se realiter, a parte rei dantur, 

40 alioquin non distinguerentur realiter per- 
sonae relativae, quod esset haereticum. 
Non distinguuntur autem, nisi ut purae 
relationes sunt secundum esse. Si enim 
in alio quam in pura relatione distingue- 

45 rentur, non solum relativa, sed etiam ab- 
soluta dividerentur in Deo. Ergo dantur 

3 Pa VIII. 161-164. 

4 Pa VIII. 170-172. 

5 82/12-14. 

6 Pa XXII. 76 a. 


[575al9-b28] 83 

not only relative things divided in God, but absolute ones 
also [which is impossible]. Therefore there exist in God 
relations independent of all finite minds, although on 
account of the supreme divine simplicity they are iden- 
tified with substance. Why therefore should there be any 
reluctance to acknowledge a mind-independent existence 
of relations among created things, relations which are 
neither substance nor infinite? 

Finally, how does the understanding form pure re- 
spects, if it has only absolute things or relations accord- 
ing to the way being must be expressed in discourse, as 
the pattern on which to form them? Relations formed 
by the understanding therefore will be mere figments, 
because they do not have in the order of being indepen- 
dent of cognition pure and true relations on whose pat- 
tern they are formed. 7 

Nor can it be said that these relations are indeed given 
independently of cognized being, but as extrinsic denomina- 
tions, not as intrinsic forms. For against this is the fact that 
every extrinsic denomination takes its origin from some real 
(i.e., independent of being itself apprehended) form existing 
in another subject, just as being seen or known originates 
from a cognition existing in an apprehending subject. There- 
fore if relation is an extrinsic denomination, it takes its origin 
from some form existing in another subject. Therefore that 
form in itself is either a relation or an absolute entity. If it 
is a relation, there is already given an intrinsic relative form, 
and so, just as it is given in that subject, it could likewise 
be given in another. But if it is an absolute form, yet ex- 
trinsically informing, how can a relative denomination arise 
from that form? For a relative formal effect does not emanate 
from an absolute form, neither intrinsically nor extrinsi- 
cally; just as being seen is not the denomination of a 
relation in the wall, but of termination. Although it is con- 
ceived by us in the mode of a relation, in fact it is not a 

Finally, those holding this opinion will find it most dif- 
ficult to explain how there are three relative persons in the 
divine processions constituted and distinct independently 
of every finite mind, if relations are extrinsic denominations. 
They will likewise find it very difficult to explain from which 
absolute form such denominations derive. But if in God rela- 
tions are not extrinsic denominations, but intrinsic forms, 
although substantial and identified with the divine sub- 
stance, why would we say that such an order of relative 
being, although not identified with substance, is impossible 
in creatures? Created things have rather more the funda- 
ment of such a relation, because they are more dependent 
and ordered or subordinated to another. 

in Deo reales relationes, licet propter sum- 
mam simplicitatem divinam identificatae 
cum substantia. Cur ergo in creatis repug- 
nabit dari tales relationes, quae nee sub- 

5 stantia sint nee infinitae? 

D e n i q u e quomodo intellectus puros 
respectus format, si non habet nisi res ab- 
solutas seu relationes secundum dici, ad 
quarum instar eas formet? Erunt ergo mera 

w figmenta relationes ab intellectu formatae, 
cum non habeant in re puras et veras rela- 
tiones, ad quarum instar formentur. 7 

Nee dici potest dari quidem in re istas 
relationes, sed per modum denomination's 

15 extrinsecae, non intrinsecae formae. Sed 
contra est, quia omnis extrinseca denomi- 
natio provenit ex forma aliqua reali ex- 
istente in alio subiecto, sicut esse visum 
aut cognitum ex cognitione existente in 

20 cognoscente. Ergo si relatio est denomina- 
tio extrinseca, provenit ex aliqua forma ex- 
istente in alio subiecto. Ergo vel ilia for- 
ma in se est relatio vel absoluta entitas. Si 
est relatio, iam datur forma relativa intrin- 

25 seca, et sic sicut datur in illo subiecto, ita 
poterit dari in alio. Si autem est forma ab- 
soluta, extrinsece tamen informans, quo- 
modo potest ab ilia provenire denominatio 
relativa? A forma enim absoluta non ema- 

30 nat eff ectus formalis relativus, neque intrin- 
sece nee extrinsece; sicut esse visum in pari- 
ete non est denominatio relationis, sed ter- 
minationis, quamvis a nobis per modum re- 
lationis concipiatur, sed in re relatio non est. 

35 Denique durissime explicabit haec 
sententia, quomodo sunt tres personae 
relativae in divinis realiter constitutae et 
distinctae, si sunt denominationes ex- 
trinsecae, et a qua forma absoluta tales 

40 denominationes proveniunt. Si autem in 
Deo extrinsecae denominationes non sunt, 
sed formae intrinsecae, licet substantiales 
et identificatae cum divina substantia, cur 
dicemus repugnare in creaturis tale genus 

45 entis relativi, licet non identificatum cum 
substantia, cum potius res creatae magis 
habeant fundamentum talis relationis, quia 
magis sunt dependentes et ordinatae vel 
subordinatae ad aliud. 

7 Cf. First Preamble, Article 1, 57/26-29 and below, Article 2, 96/3-8. 

84 [575b29-576a39] 





You object first: A relation posits nothing 
mind-independent in a subject beyond the extrinsic 
denomination of coexisting extremes. For it is not ap- 
parent how this mode, which is called relation, contra- 5 
distinguished from the remaining absolute forms, 
comes to a thing without an intrinsic change of that 
thing, if the relation is its intrinsic mode, nor does it 
appear how a relation would be caused anew from the 
sole positing of a term at whatever distance; as, for 70 
example, if something white is produced in the Indies 
when I am existing in Spain, that relation [of similar- 
ity] results from such a distant term, nor is it produced 
now by the agent which had produced the whiteness 
here in Spain, because such an agent has often already 
ceased to be at the time when the relation results, there- 
fore it cannot then act. 

Second, because it seems to increase to infinity 
the multitude of relations in the same subject to all 
the things which are similar, equal, agents, patients, 
etc., in respect of that subject. And especially because 
one relation can also found other relations, since two 
relations are not less similar than are two absolute 
things, and so the number of relations will increase 
to infinity. 

Finally, because there seems to be no necessity 
for multiplying these relative entities by distinguish- 
ing them from absolute ones. For by the very fact that 
two white things are posited, they will be similar with- 
out another entity or mode; and by the very fact that 
someone generates, he will be a father without another 
additional entity. Since therefore there is no experi- 
ential evidence for these relations, and since the other 
argument for their existence is satisfied merely by the 
positing of two extremes, it is not proved on any solid 35 
grounds that these relations are intrinsic forms. 
Whence St. Thomas says, in the Summa of the Whole 
Logic of Aristotle, chap. 3, 8 that a relation does not dif- 
fer from a fundament except by reason of an extrinsic 
term. And in the passage cited above from the Summa 
theologica, I-II, q. 7, art. 2, reply to obj. 1, he teaches 
that a thing is denominated relative not only from that 
which is in it, but also from that which comes to it from 

To the first objection, 9 I answer that a relation 45 
accrues to a subject without any change that is di- 
rectly and immediately terminated at the relation, 
but not without a change that is teminated mediately 





Obicies primo: Relatio nihil reale 
ponit in subiecto praeter extrinsecam de- 
nominationem extremorum coexistentium. 
Nam iste modus, qui dicitur relatio, con- 
distinctus a reliquis formis absolutis non 
apparet, quomodo adveniat rei sine in- 
trinseca eius mutatione, si intrinsecus eius 
modus est, nee quomodo de novo causetur 
ex sola positione termini in quacumque 
distantia; ut si aliquod album producitur 
in India me existente in Hispania, resultat 
ilia relatio ab illo termino ita distanti, ne- 
que producitur nunc ab agente, qui pro- 
duxit albedinem hie, quia tale agens saepe 
iam desiit, quando relatio resultat, ergo 
tune non potest agere. 

Secundo, quia videtur in infinitum 
crescere multitude relationum in eodem 
subiecto ad omnia, quae sunt sibi similia, 
aequalia, agentia, patientia etc. Et praeser- 
tim, quia etiam una relatio potest alias fun- 
dare, cum non minus sint similes duae rela- 
tiones quam duo absoluta, et sic in infini- 
tum crescet numerus relationum. 

D e n i q u e , quia nulla videtur necessi- 
tas multiplicandi istas entitates relativas, 
distinguendo illas ab absolutis. Nam hoc 
ipso, quod ponantur duo alba, sine alia en- 
titate vel modo erunt similia, et hoc ipso, 
quod quis genuit, sine alia additione enti- 
tatis erit pater. Cum ergo nulla detur ex- 
perientia istarum relationum, et alius dis- 
cursus, quo probantur dari, sufficienter 
salvatur sola positione duorum extremo- 
rum, non videtur solido fundamento pro- 
bari, quod istae relationes sint formae in- 
trinsecae. Unde D. Thomas opusc. 48. tract, 
de Ad aliquid cap. 3. 8 dicit relationem non 
differre a fundamento nisi ratione termini 
extrinseci. Et loco supra cit. ex 1. 2. q. 7. 
art. 2. ad 1. docet relatum denominari non 
solum ab eo, quod inest, sed etiam ab eo, 
quod extrinsecus adiacet. 

Ad primum 9 respondetur, quod re- 
latio advenit subiecto sine aliqua mutatione, 
quae directe et immediate terminetur ad re- 
lationem, non tamen sine mutatione, quae 

8 Summa tot. Log. Arist. (Pa XVII. 74 a). 

9 84/2-17. 


[576a39-577a2] 85 

and indirectly at that relation. Just as risibility results 
from the same action by which a man is produced, so 
from the production of a white thing is produced simi- 
litude to another existing white thing. But if another 
white thing did not exist, by virtue of the generation 
of the first white thing, that similitude and any other 
relation that would result from the positing of its ter- 
minus would remain in a virtual state. Whence distance 
neither conduces to nor obstructs the resultance of a 
pure relation, because these relations do not depend 
upon a local situation; for far or near, a son is in the 
same way the son of his father. Nor is the relation in 
the other extreme produced by the terminus itself 
through some emission of power when it is brought 
into existence. Rather is the existence of the terminus 
the condition for a relation's resulting from an already 
existing fundament by virtue of the original genera- 
tion whereby that fundament was brought into being 
as inclining toward any terminus of such a fundament. 
Whence even though the generating has now ceased, 
it yet remains in its effect or power, inasmuch as it 
leaves a fundament sufficient for a relation to result, 
just as there remains from the efficient cause of some- 
thing heavy a capacity in the physical object to be 
moved downward when an obstacle is removed. 

And when one insists that Aristotle often 
teaches that a relation is not the terminus of a change, 
I answer that it is not the terminus of a physical change 
essentially and directly; yet the Philosopher does not 
deny that it is the terminus of a change incidentally 
(by reason of a concomitant attribute, that is, through 
another namely, its fundament) and secondarily. 
Whence St. Thomas, in his Commentary on Book V of 
the Physics, reading 3, 10 expressly teaches that a 
physical change takes place in mind-independent rela- 
tions, namely, some new determination according to 
which what was in the fundament is drawn into act. 
And in his Commentary on the Metaphysics, Book XI, 
reading 12," he says that "in being toward something 
there is no movement except incidentally." 

To the second objection, 12 1 answer that it is not in- 
congruous for these relations to be multiplied as often 
as fundaments and termini are multiplied, although 
the position St. Thomas takes greatly moderates the 
number of relations, for he states in the Summa theo- 
logica, III, q. 35, art. 5, that the numerically same rela- 
tion can be referred to numerically diverse terms. But 

mediate et indirecte terminetur ad illam. 
Sicut eadem actione, qua producitur homo, 
dimanat risibilitas, sic ad productionem albi 
producitur similitudo ad aliud album, quod 

5 existit. Si autem non existit, manet ex vi 
generationis albi quasi in virtute ilia simi- 
litudo et quaecumque alia relatio, ut re- 
sultet posito suo termino. Unde ad hoc 
nihil conducit vel obstat distantia, quia rela- 

w tiones istae non dependent a locali situa- 
tione; eodem enim modo est films sui patris 
films distans et indistans. Neque enim ab 
ipso termino, quando ponitur per aliquam 
emissionem virtutis, producitur relatio in 

15 alio extreme, sed positio termini est con- 
ditio, ut ex fundamento antea posito res- 
ultet relatio ex vi primae generationis, qua 
positum est in rerum natura ut petens re- 
spicere quemcumque terminum talis fun- 

20 damenti. Unde licet generans iam desierit, 
remanet tamen in sua virtute, quatenus 
relinquit sufficiens fundamentum, ut resul- 
tet relatio, sicut remanet virtute in gravi, 
ut moveatur deorsum a generante remote 

25 obstaculo. 

Et quando fit instantia, quod Aristoteles 
saepe docet relationem non esse terminum 
mutationis, respondetur non esse terminum 
mutationis physicae per se et directe; non 

30 tamen negat Philosophus esse terminum 
mutationis per accidens, id est per aliud et 
secundario. Unde D. Thomas in 5. Phys. 
lect. 3. 10 expresse docet mutationem realem 
fieri in relationfbus realibus, scilicet aliquam 

35 novam determinationem, secundum quam 
explicatur in actu, quod erat in fundamen- 
to. Et 11. Metaph. lect. 12." dicit, quod 
in ad aliquid non est motus nisi per acci- 

40 Ad secundum 12 respondetur nullum 
esse inconveniens, quod multiplicentur is- 
tae relationes, quoties multiplicantur fun- 
damenta et termini. Praesertim vero in 
sententia D. Thomae multo minor est nu- 

45 merus relationum, quia ponit unam relatio- 
nem numero posse ad diversos terminos 
numero referri 3. p. q. 35. art. 5. Unam vero 

10 Le II. 237. n. 7. 

11 Pa XX. 617 b. 

12 84/18-25. 

86 [577a2-31] 


he categorically denies that one relation is founded on 
another relation, as we will show below at length. 13 
See the Disputed Questions on the Power of God, q. 7, art. 
9, reply to obj. 2, 14 and the Summa theologica, I, q. 42, 
art. 1, reply to obj. 4. 

To the third objection: 15 there is as much need to 
posit this category of relation as an ontological rationale 
as there is to posit a category of quantity or quality. 
We know there are forms of quantity and quality from 
seeing their effects. In the same way, from seeing in 
the world of nature the effect of some things ordered 
and having a condition relative to other things, such 
as similitude, paternity, order, etc.; and from seeing 
that in these things this effect of respecting is without 
admixture of any absolute rationale, that their whole 
being consists in a respect; it is from seeing this, I say, 
that we best gather that there is this pure sort of relative 
being, just as we gather from absolute effects that there 
are absolute entities. Nor is greater experience needed 
for this than in the case of other accidental forms where 
we experience the effects, to be sure, but not their 
distinction from substance. 16 But were God to let two 
white things exist without the resultance of a rela- 
tion, they would remain similar fundamentally, not 

relationem fundari in alia omnino negat D. 
Thomas, quod infra latius ostendemus. 13 
Et videri potest q. 7. de Potentia art. 9. ad 
2. 14 et 1. p. q. 42. art. 1. ad 4. 
5 Ad tertium 15 dicitur, quod non est 
minor necessitas ponendi hoc genus en- 
titatis relativae quam genus quantitatis vel 
qualitatis. Quia enim videmus effectus 
quantitatis et qualitatis, inde tales formas 
w dari colligimus. Sic etiam quia videmus dari 
hunc effectum in rerum natura, scilicet or- 
dinari aliqua et habitudinem habere ad alia, 
sicut similitudo, paternitas, ordo etc., et in 
istis non est iste effectus respiciendi mix- 
is tus cum ratione absoluta, sed totum esse 
eorum consistit in respectu, inde optime 
colligimus dari hoc genus entitatis relativae, 
sicut ex effectibus absolutis entitates ab- 
solutas. Nee est necessaria ad hoc maior ex- 
20 perientia quam in aliis formis accidenta- 
libus, in quibus experimur quidem effec- 
tus, sed non earum distinctionem a substan- 
tia. 16 Quodsi Deus relinqueret duo alba sine 
resultantia relationis, manerent similia 
25 fundamentaliter, non formaliter. 

13 In Article 3 of this Preamble, 102/36-105/13, esp. 104/42-105/6. Further in Logica 2. p. q. 
17. art. 5. 600al9-25, and Appendix C of the present work esp. 380/lOff ., notably 386/20-21 and 

14 Pa VIII. 163 b. 

15 84/26-44. 

16 The reader should advert here to the entirely experiential claim Poinsot is making for his 
affirmation of relation as among the furnishings of the physical world. Note too that he is say- 
ing that the modes of being classified as "accidents" in the Aristotelian scheme of "categories" 
(see below, Book I, Question 1, note 10) are not what sense attains, as opposed to "substance," 
but are analyzed out of what sense directly attains: "cognitio externa propter sui imperfectionem et 
materialitatem non potest seipsam attingere neque accidentia, quae in se sunt, sed obiecta corporeo modo 
sibi applicata" (Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 6. art. 4., Reiser ed. HI. 195b21-25). "External sense cognition, 
on account of its imperfection and materiality, can attain neither itself nor [even] the accidents 
that are independent of sensation, but only objects as here and now physically acting upon the 
sense." There are thus for Poinsot two levels at work in Aristotle's categorial scheme: the ef- 
fects of the diverse "accidental" characteristics of bodies which are directly given in experience 
without any distinction from the individuals ("substances") possessing those characteristics, 
and in which direct experience is given the contrast between two different sorts of relativity; 
and a second level on which we distinguish by a further analysis between the characteristics directly 
given in experience and the individuals as such possessing those characteristics. It is only on this 
second level of analysis, once removed from the directly givens of experience, that we can speak 
of a contrast between "substance" and "accidents." See further (inter alia) ibid.: 116a26-117b20, 
esp. 117a24-27. 

The importance of this for the doctrine of signs is considerable, for it means that semiotic 
analysis begins at a point prior to the classical ontology of "substance" and "accident" (cf . Poinsot, 
Phil. nat. 1. p. q. 1. art. 3., Reiser ed. II. 20al-33b8; discussion in Powell 1983: 28-29), with the 
immediately experienced contrast of subjective and inter subjective elements of experience, 
wherein "substance" is only implied. We do not experience the distinction of substance from 
accidents, whence substance is not known by experience as a distinct reality; but we do directly 
experience relations secundum did and secundum esse, whence substance and the scheme of ac- 


As regards the interpretation of the texts cited from St. Thomas: Ad loca D. Thomae: Ad primum 17 ex 
to the first one 17 from the Summa of the Whole Logic of Aris- opusc. 48. 18 respondetur sensum esse, 
totle, 18 the response is that the sense of the passage is that a quod relatio differt ratione termini ex- 
relation differs from its fundament by reason of an extrinsic trinseci, id est sumit distinctionem a ter- 
terminus that is, it takes distinction from the terminus; but 5 mino; non vero negat, quod in se sit for- 
the passage does not deny that the relation in itself is an ma intrinseca, quod toties affirmat D. 
intrinsic form, a fact that St. Thomas affirms many times. Thomas. Et specialiter quod sit accidens 
And that it is specifically an inhering accident, he teaches inhaerens, docet q. 7. de Potentia art. 
in q. 7 of the Disputed Questions on the Power of God, art. 9, 9. ad 7. 19 In secundo autem loco ex 1. 
reply to obj. 7. t9 But in the second passage from the Summa w 2. 20 solum docet D. Thomas, quod re- 
theologica, I-II, 20 St. Thomas teaches only that relation takes latio denominationem sumit non solum 
denomination not only from that which is intrinsic, that is ex eo, quod inest, id est in quantum 
to say, insofar as it is inhering, but from that which concerns inhaerens, sed eo, quod extrinsecus 
it from without, that is, from the terminus or from the order adiacet, id est ex termino seu ex ordine 
to that terminus, which does not remove, but supposes, that 25 ad ilium, quod non tollit, sed supponit, 
the relation is inhering, which is St. Thomas's own exposi- quod sit inhaerens, quae est expositio 
tion in the passage cited from the Disputed Questions on the ipsius in cit. loco de Potentia et 1. p. q. 
Power of God, and in the Summa theologica, I, q. 28, art. 2. 21 28. art. 2. 21 

cidents are alike derived by further analysis. Hence the two "categories" fundamental to the 
doctrine of signs the starting point of the Treatise (Book I, Question 1, 117/18-23) include all 
reality that can be directly experienced in what will be called 'accidents' once substance has been 
rationally, i.e., analytically, further distinguished among the secundum did relatives. What is 
decisive here is that this way of conceptualizing the matter affords in effect and in principle 
an alternative categorial scheme to Aristotle's own, equally comprehensive of all reality, but 
more fundamental, being unlike Aristotle's scheme, wherein the most basic reality, substance, 
is not directly experienced or experienceable as such, but only as characterized thus and so (i.e., 
in its accidents) entirely reducible to what can be directly experienced, namely, the contrast 
between what is and what is not purely relative, the relative secundum esse (order among elements 
or units making up a system) and the relative secundum did (the elements or units ordered). 
Concerned as he was to fit an understanding of signs into the then traditional ontological 
system of philosophy, Poinsot will continue to use throughout particularly, for example, in 
the closing discussions of Book III, Question 2, 313/1-323/35 the traditional terminology of the 
substance-accident scheme; but the reader who failed to see that the fundamental thrust of the 
semiotic he essays is independent of, because ultimately foundational to, any such scheme (see 
my " 'Semiotic' as the Doctrine of Signs," Ars Semeiotica 1/3 [1977], 41-68), and who failed to 
adjust the understanding of the apparently "traditional" terminology accordingly, would be 
bound to misunderstand entirely the doctrina Poinsot is essaying. The novelty of these two 
"categories" as Poinsot construes them is the key to the system. Further discussion in Deely 
1982: n. 9, pp. 168-179. 

17 84/37-40. 

18 Summa tot. Log. Arist. (Pa XVII. 74 a). 

19 Pa VIII. 164 a. 

20 84/40-44. 

21 This discussion is expanded in detail in Appendix C, pp. 377-389 below. Note particularly 
the distinction Poinsot implies between an "intrinsic" form which is inherent (i.e., "accidental" 
or subjective in character) and an intrinsic form which is yet not as such in what is proper to it as 
distinct from what is casual of it an inhering form, namely, categorial relation (i.e., intersubjec- 
tive being), and therefore also any objective connections as such (i.e., ontological relations, even 
when dependent upon being cognized. See Book II, Question 5, 272/25-45, inter alia. 



What is Required for a Categorial Relation 


Quid Requiratur, ut Aliqua Relatio Sit Praedicamentalis 

To see why relation must be included in a categorial 
scheme of the modes or ways in which mind-indepen- 
dent subjects differ in being, one must see how rela- 
tion in nature differs both from mind-dependent ob- 
jective relation and from transcendental relation, which 
also is customarily called relation according to the way 
being must be expressed in discourse. 

The better to perceive this difference, let us start 
from the common teaching that in this category of 
being which is called relation, three factors must con- 
cur, namely, a subject, a fundament, and a terminus. 
The subject, which is a factor common to every acci- 
dent, is that which is formed and denominated by 
the relation. The fundament is required as the ra- 
tionale and cause whence these relations obtain an en- 
titative being and existence. The terminus is required 
as that toward which this respect tends and at which 
it rests. And though a cause is required for every 
entity and form, yet in a special sense a fundament 
is said to be required for a relation, because other 
forms require a cause only in order to be produced 
in being and exist, whereas relation owing to its mini- 
mal entitative character and because in terms of its 
proper concept it is toward another requires a fun- 
dament not only in order to exist but also in order to 
be able to remain in existence, that is, in order to be 
a mind-independent rationale of physical being. And 
thus St. Thomas said, in Book I of the Commentary 
on the Sentences Written for Annibald, dist. 30, q. 1, 

Ad cognoscendam relationem prae- 
dicamentalem oportet discernere illam et 
a relatione rationis et a relatione tran- 
scendentali, quae etiam appellari solet 

5 relatio secundum dici. 

Ut autem hoc possit melius percipi, 
SUPPONENDA est communis doctrina, 
quod in hoc genere entis, quod vocatur 
relatio, tria debent concurrere, scilicet 

10 subiectum, fundamentum et terminus. 
Subiectum, quod est commune omni 
accidenti, est illud, quod formatur et de- 
nominatur a relatione. Fundamentum 
requiritur tamquam ratio et causa, unde 

15 relationes istae sortiuntur entitatem et 
esse . Terminus tamquam id, ad quod 
tendit et in quo sistit iste respectus. Et 
licet ad omnem entitatem et formam re- 
quiratur causa, specialiter tamen ad rela- 

20 tionem dicitur requiri fundamentum, 
quia aliae formae solum requirunt cau- 
sam, ut producantur in esse et existant, 
relatio autem propter suam minimam 
entitatem et quia ex proprio conceptu 

25 est ad aliud, requirit fundamentum 
non solum ut existat, sed etiam ut sit 
capax existendi, id est ut sit entitas 
realis. Et ita dixit D. Thomas in 1. ad 
Annibaldum dist. 30. quaest. unica 


[577b44-578b5] 89 

art. I, 1 that "relation is nothing other than the bearing of one 
thing toward another; whence according to its proper ration- 
ale it need not be anything in that of which it is predicated, 
although it sometimes is this owing to the cause of the relative 
condition." And practically the same notion is expressed in 
Book I, dist. 26, q. 2, art. 1 of St. Thomas's Commentary on 
the Sentences of Peter Lombard, 2 and in the Summa theologica, 
I, q. 28, art. 1, where he says that "those things which are 
said to be toward something signify according to their proper 
rationale only a respect toward another. This respect some- 
times indeed is in the nature of things, as when some things 
are ordered among themselves according to their nature." 
And the reason for this is that relation, on account of its 
minimal entitative character, does not depend on a subject 
in precisely the same way as the other absolute forms, but 
stands rather as a third kind of being consisting in and re- 
sulting from the coordination [in time] of two extremes; and 
therefore, in order to exist in the nature of things, a relation 
continuously depends on the fundament coordinating it with 
a term, and not only on a subject and productive cause. 

From these familiar distinctions it will not be difficult to 
point out the difference between relations according to the 
way being must be expressed in discourse and relations ac- 
cording to the way some things have being, mind-indepen- 
dent and mind-dependent. For things which are relative ac- 
cording to the way they have being, and things which are 
relative according to the way their being requires expression, 
are distinguished in the very way that relativity is exercised, 
because, in the case of things relative according to the way 
they have being, the whole rationale or exercise is to respect, 
and for that reason they are said to respect a terminus in the 
rationale of a pure terminus. But the exercise or rationale of 
a relation according to the way something must be expressed 
in discourse is not purely to respect a terminus, but to exer- 
cise something else whence a relation could follow; and for 
this reason St. Thomas put it well in Book 2, dist. 1, q. 1, 
art. 5, reply to obj. 8, of his Commentary on the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, 3 when he wrote that these relatives involve a 
fundament and a relation, whereas things relative according 
to the way they have being express only a relation, because 
it is easy to see that things relative according to the way they 
must be expressed in discourse bear on a terminus rather by 
founding a relation than by actually respecting, and for that 
reason they do not respect the terminus in question in the 
rationale of a pure terminus, but according to some other 
rationale that of a cause, say, or of an effect, or of an object, 
or of some such. So a relation according to the way being must 

art. I., 1 quod relatio non est aliud quam 
habitude unius ad alterum; unde secun- 
dum propriam rationem non habet, quod 
sit aliquid in eo, de quo dicitur, sed hoc 

5 aliquando habet ex habitudinis causa. 
Et idem fere habet in 1. dist. 26. q. 2. art. 
I. 2 et 1. p. q. 28. art. 1., ubi inquit, quod 
ea, quae dicuntur ad aliquid, significant 
secundum propriam rationem solum re- 

w spectum ad aliud. Qui quidem respec- 
tus aliquando est in rerum natura, utpote 
quando aliquae res secundum naturam 
suam ad invicem ordinatae sunt. Et 
hoc ideo est, quia relatio propter suam 

is minimam entitatem non praecise depen- 
det a subiecto sicut aliae formae ab- 
solutae, sed se habet ut entitas tertia ex 
coordinatione duorum extremorum con- 
sistens et resultans, ideoque ut sit in 

20 rerum natura debet dependere a funda- 
mento coordinante illam ad terminum, et 
non solum a subiecto et causa produc- 

Ex his non erit difficile discernere in- 

25 ter relationes secundum dici et secun- 
dum esse, reales et rationis. Relativa 
discriminantur ex ipso exercitio, quia in 
relativis secundum esse tota ratio seu 

so exercitium est respicere, et ideo dicun- 
tur respicere terminum in ratione puri 
termini. Exercitium vero seu ratio relatio- 
nis secundum dici non est pure re- 
spicere terminum, sed aliquid aliud ex- 

35 ercere, unde sequatur relatio; ideoque 
dixit bene S. Thomas in 2. dist. 1. q. 1. 
art. 5. ad 8. primo loco positum, 3 quod 
ista relativa important fundamentum et 
relationem, relativa vero secundum esse 

40 tantum relationem dicunt, quia videlicet 
relativa secundum dici potius erga ter- 
minum se habent fundando relationem 
quam actu respiciendo, et ideo non in 
ratione puri termini ipsum respiciunt, 

45 sed secundum aliam rationem, puta cau- 
sae vel effectus aut obiecti aut quid 
simile. Quapropter relatio secundum dici 

1 Pa XXII. 84 b. 

2 Pa VI. 219 b. 

3 Pa VI. 393 b. 

90 [578b5-579a7] 


be expressed in discourse is constantly distinguished, in the 
writings of St. Thomas, from relation according to the way 
relation has being, in that the principal significate of an ex- 
pression expressing a relation according to the way a sub- 
ject must be expressed in discourse is not a relation, but 
something else, upon which a relation follows. But when 
the principal significate of any expression is the relation 
itself, and not anything absolute, then there is a relation ac- 
cording to the way the thing signified has being, as is clear 
from the Summa theologica, I, q. 13, art. 7; the Commentary 
on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book I, dist. 30, q. 1, art. 
2; 4 and from chap. 1 of the Tractate concerning the category 
of relation in the Summa of the Whole Logic of Aristotle , 5 where 
St. Thomas clearly teaches this. 

The establishing of this difference also establishes that 
an expression expressing a transcendental relation which 
is nothing else than a relation according to the way subjec- 
tive being must be expressed in discourse does not con- 
vey relation from its principal significate, but something ab- 
solute, upon which some relation follows or could follow. 
For if it does not convey an absolute, it will not be tran- 
scendental, that is, ranging through diverse categories, but 
will look to one category only. Whence a transcendental 
relation is not a form adventitious to a subject or absolute 
thing, but one assimilated to it, yet connoting something 
extrinsic upon which the subject depends or with which it 
is engaged, as, for example, matter relative to form, a head 
relative to the headed, a creature relative to God; and so 
transcendental relation coincides with relation according to 
the way being must be expressed in discourse. Some er- 
roneously divide relation according to the way it has being 
into transcendental and categorial. 6 This is a wrong division, 
because a transcendental relation is in the absolute entity 
itself and does not differ from its [subjective] being, and so 
its whole being is not toward another, which is required for 
a relation to be ontological, i.e., a relation according to the 
way it has being. But whether the transcendental relation 
imports some imperfection and dependency and must for 
that reason be excluded from God is a question for the 
metaphysicians and theologians. 

But mind-independent and mind-dependent relations, 
which division is found in relation only according to the 

in hoc perpetuo distinguitur a relatione 
secundum esse ex D. Thoma, quod prin- 
cipale significatum relationis secundum 
dici non est relatio, sed aliquid aliud, ad 

5 quod sequitur relatio. Quando autem 
principale significatum alicuius est rela- 
tio ipsa et non aliquid absolutum, tune 
est relatio secundum esse, ut constat ex 
1. p. q. 13. art. 7. et in 1. dist. 30. q. 1. 

w art. 2. 4 et opusc. 48. tract, de praedica- 
mento Ad aliquid cap. I., 5 ubi manifeste 
hoc docet. 

Ex quo etiam constat, quod relatio 
transcendentalis, quae non est alia a rela- 

35 tione secundum dici, non importat ex 
principal! significato relationem, sed ali- 
quid absolutum, ad quod sequitur vel se- 
qui potest aliqua relatio. Nam si ab- 
solutum non importat, transcendentalis 

20 non erit, id est vagans per diversa gene- 
ra, sed ad unum praedicamentum tan- 
tum spectabit. Unde relatio transcenden- 
talis non est forma adveniens subiecto 
seu rei absolutae, sed illi imbibita, con- 

25 notans tamen aliquid extrinsecum, a quo 
pendet vel circa quod versatur, ut ma- 
teria ad formam, caput ad capitatum, 
creatura ad Deum, sicque relatio tran- 
scendentalis coincidit cum relatione se- 

30 cundum dici. Et male ab aliquibus relatio 
secundum esse dividitur in transcenden- 
talem et praedicamentalem, 6 cum tran- 
scendentalis sit in ipsa entitate absoluta 
nee ab eius esse dLfferat, et sic non sit 

35 totum suum esse ad aliud, quod requi- 
ritur ad relationem secundum esse. An 
vero transcendentalis relatio imperfec- 
tionem aliquam et dependentiam impor- 
tet ideoque a Deo releganda sit, ad meta- 

40 physicos et theologos spectat. 

TIONIS, quae divisio solum in relatione 

4 Pa VI. 245 b. 

5 Summa tot. Log. Arist. (Pa XVII. 73 a). 

6 Principal among the "some" Poinsot has in mind here was certainly Suarez: "Tertio ac 
praecipue dividitur relatio realis et secundum esse, in transcendentalem et praedicamentalem . . ."- -"Third- 
ly and principally is real and ontological relation divided into transcendental and categorial 
. . .": Disputationes Metaphysicae, disp. 47, sect. 3, par. 10. ". . . relationes autem quae tantum sunt 
secundum dici, proprie et in rigore sumptas, distingui ab omnibus relationibus secundum esse, sive tran- 
scendentales sint, sive praedicamentales" " . . . relations which, taken in a proper and strict sense, 
are only according to the way being must be expressed in discourse, are distinguished from 
all ontological relations, whether transcendental or categorial": ibid, par. 9. 


[579a7-b3] 91 

way relation has being, are seen to be different owing principally 
to the absence of any of the conditions required for the relations 
to be mind-independent. Now five such conditions are required 
by St. Thomas in the first chapter of the Tractate on the category 
of relation in the Summa of the Whole Logic of Aristotle, 7 two on the 
side of the subject of the relation, two on the side of the terminus 
of the relation, and one on the part of the things related. On the 
side of the subject, the two conditions are that the subject of the 
relation be a mind-independent being and that it be a funda- 
ment, that is to say, that the subject of the relation have the 
rationale of the founding independently of that rationale's being 
known. On the side of the terminus, the conditions are that the 
terminus of the relation be something mind-independent and 
mind-independently existing, and second, that it be mind-inde- 
pendently distinct from the other extreme [i.e., the subject of the 
relation]. But on the part of the relatives, i.e., of the subjective 
things related, the condition is that they be of the same order, 
for want of which condition there is not a mind-independent re- 
lation of God to a creature, nor of a measure to the measured, 
if the measure is of a different order from that of measured. 
This doctrine accords with what St. Thomas teaches in the Com- 
mentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book I, dist. 26, q. 2, 
art. I, 8 and in the Summa theologica, I, q. 28, art. 1. Yet formally 
and principally the whole difference between a mind-indepen- 
dent relation and a mind-dependent one comes down to this, 
that a physical relation has a mind-independent fundament with 
a coexistent terminus, while a mental relation lacks such a 
fundament, 9 as St. Thomas explains in the Commentary on the 
Sentences Written for Annibald, Book I, dist. 30, q. 1, art. I. 10 

Taking these differences as established, I say by way of 
resolution: In order for any relation to be categorial, it must 
have those conditions by which it is distinguished both from 
a mind-dependent relation and from a transcendental relation, 
i.e., a relation according to the way being must be expressed 
in discourse; and therefore categorial relation is defined as 
a mind-independent form whose whole being is toward an- 

By the first part of this conclusion categorial relation is distin- 
guished from mental relation, which is not a mind-independent 
form; by the second part of the conclusion categorial relation 
is distinguished from transcendental relation and anything abso- 

secundum esse invenitur, discriminan- 
tur penes carentiam alicuius ex condi- 
tionibus requisitis ad relationes reales. 
Requiruntur autem quinque condi- 

5 Hones a D. Thoma opusc. 48. tract, de 
Relativis cap. I., 7 duae ex parte subiec- 
ti, duae ex parte termini, una ex parte 
relatorum. Ex parte subiecti, quod sub- 
iectum sit ens reale et fundamentum 

20 seu rationem fundandi realem habeat. 
Ex parte termini, quod terminus sit res 
aliqua realis et realiter existens, et se- 
cundo, quod sit distincta realiter ab 
alio extreme. Ex parte vero relativorum, 

is quod sint eiusdem ordinis, defectu 
cuius Dei ad creaturam non est relatio 
realis nee mensurae ad mensuratum, 
si sit diversi ordinis. Quae doctrina 
concordat his, quae docet in 1. dist. 

20 26. q. 2. art. I. 8 et 1. p. q. 28. art. 1. 
Formaliter tamen et principaliter 
reducitur tota differentia inter rela- 
tionem realem et rationis, quod relatio 
realis habet fundamentum reale cum 

25 coexistentia termini, relatio rationis 
caret fundamento, 9 ut ex D. Thoma 
sumitur 1. ad Annibaldum dist. 30. 
quaest. unica art. I. 10 


30 Ad hoc ut relatio aliqua sit praedica- 
mentalis, requiritur, quod habeat il- 
las conditiones, quibus distinguatur 
a relatione rationis et transcendental! 
sive secuhdum dici, ideoque defini- 

35 tur relatio praedicamental is, quod sit 
forma realis, cuius totum esse est ad 

Per primam particulam distingui- 
tur a relatione rationis, quae realis for- 

40 ma non est, per secundam a relatione 
transcendentali et quolibet absolute, 

7 Summa tot. Log. Arist. (Pa XVII. 73 a, b). 

8 Pa VI. 219 b. 

9 This is the "formal and principal difference" from the point of view of the fundament as 
cause of the being of the relationship. Since, however, in the case of mind-dependent relations 
the fundament is not the cause of the relation's being, it is also possible to discriminate the two 
cases "formally and principally" from the point of view of the different ways the fundaments 
function in the denomination of a subject as relative: see the First Preamble, Article 3, 70/24-71/19. 
This latter point of view is the one that is proximately crucial for the notion of the sign as ontologi- 
cally relative, i.e., relative in its proper being without regard for the subjective ground whence 
springs its being-toward: see Book I, Question 1, 125/31-39. 

10 Pa XXII. 84 b. 

92 [579b3-580al2] 


lute the whole being of which is not toward another, since 
in itself it is also something absolute. 

In fact the three conditions of a categorial relation are 
implied in this conclusion: First, that it be an ontological 
relation, that is, a relation according to the way it has be- 
ing; second, that it be mind-independent, where we in- 
clude all the conditions required 11 for mind-independent 
relation; third, that it be finite. (Scotus adds a fourth con- 
dition, to wit, that the relation be intrinsically adven- 
titious, that is to say, that it be a relation which immediate- 
ly arises without any further change when the fundament 
and the term are posited; but relations extrinsically adven- 
titious he limits to the last six categories, which do not 
result immediately and as if from within when a funda- 
ment and term are given, but need some extrinsic change 
in order to result. But in treating of the last six categories 
in Q. 19 we will show that these extrinsically advenient 
modes are not relations.) 

By the first of these conditions for a categorial 
relation are excluded all relations according to the 
expressibility of subjective being in discourse, i.e., all 
transcendental relations; by the second are excluded 
all mind-dependent relations; by the third all divine 
relations, which fall outside a category, since they are 
pure acts. 

But you might ask concerning that condition 12 of a 
mind-independent and categorial relation, namely, that 
the extremes be mind-independently distinct, whether 
it is required that they be distinct on the part of the 
things, that is, of the extremes materially, or whether 
it is required that they be distinct not only materially 
but also on the part of the rationale of their founda- 
tion, so that the proximate fundament of the relation 
is also mind-independently distinct from the relation. 

The response to this inquiry is that in this lies the 
difference between the schools of St. Thomas and of 
Scotus. For Scotus, in Book I of his Commentary on the 
Sentences of Peter Lombard, dist. 31, q. 1, requires only 
a distinction between the things which are the extremes, 
not between the rationales of founding. St. Thomas 
requires both, as is clear in the Summa theologica, I, q. 
42, art. 1, where on this ground he denies that there 
is an ontological relation of similarity and equality 
between the divine persons independently of our 
minds, because the foundation [of relations of similarity 
and equality] is the same in each of the persons, to wit, 
the divine essence, by reason of which they are alike; 
it would be the same if one whiteness existed in two 

cuius totum esse non est ad aliud, cum 
in se etiam absolutum aliquid sit. 

Colliguntur vero tres conditiones rela- 
tionis praedicamentalis: Prima, quod sit 

5 relatio secundum esse; secunda, quod sit 
realis, ubi includimus omnes conditiones 
requisitas 11 ad relationem realem; tertia, 
quod sit finita. Scotus quartam addit 
conditionem, scilicet quod sit relatio in- 

w trinsecus adveniens, id est quae sine ulla 
mutatione, posito fundamento et ter- 
mino statim consurgit; relationes vero 
extrinsecus advenientes reicit ad sex ul- 
tima praedicamenta, quae posito funda- 

15 mento et termino non immediate et quasi 
ab intrinseco resultant, sed extrinseca ali- 
qua mutatione indigent, ut resultent. 
Sed q. 19. agendo de sex ultimis prae- 
dicamentis ostendemus non esse relatio- 

20 nes istas extrinsecus advenientes. 

Ex prima ergo conditione relationis 
praedicamentalis excluduntur omnes 
relationes secundum dici sive transcen- 
dentales, ex secunda eiciuntur omnes 

25 relationes rationis, ex tertia omnes rela- 
tiones divinae, quae e praedicamento ex- 
ulant, cum sint actus puri. 

SED INQUIRES circa illam conditionem 12 
relationis realis et praedicamentalis, 

30 scilicet quod extrema sint distincta reali- 
ter, an requiratur, quod sint distincta 
solum ex parte rerum seu extremorum 
materialiter, an etiam ex parte rationis 
fundandi, ita ut fundamentum proxi- 

35 mum sit etiam realiter distinctum. 

Respondetur in hoc esse differen- 
tiam inter scholam D. Thomae et Scoti. 
Scotus enim in 1. dist. 31. quaest. unica 
requirit solum distinctionem inter res, 

40 quae sunt extrema, non inter rationes 
fundandi. D. Thomas utrumque requirit, 
ut patet 1. p. q. 42. art. 1., ubi ex eo negat 
inter divinas personas dari relationem 
realem similitudinis et aequalitatis, quia 

45 fundamentum est idem in omnibus per- 
sonis, scilicet divina essentia, ratione 
cuius assimilantur, et idem esset, si 
poneretur una albedo in duobus lapidi- 

11 at 91/3-20. 

12 91/12-16. 


[580al2-bl9] 93 


stones. The reason for this is taken from Cajetan and the other 
interpreters commenting on q. 42, art. 1, because in these rela- 
tives [i.e., in the case of ontological relatives that are reciprocal] 
the material extremes are referred because the rationales them- 
selves of the founding are referred; for it is because the white- 5 
nesses are similar that the white things are similar. Whence 
if, on the contrary, the whitenesses are not similar, because 
there is only one whiteness, the white things themselves could 
not be similar in whiteness, because they are the same, since 
by hypothesis there is only one and the same whiteness. But w 
if they are similar, it will be in something else, not in the for- 
mal rationale itself of a white thing. But it is enough to have 
insinuated this concerning this difficulty, for it is a difficulty 
that looks more to the theologians and the metaphysicians. 



A problem arises first from that well-known but difficult 
passage in the Summa theologica, I, q. 28, art. 1, where St. 
Thomas says that only in the case of the things that are a being 
toward something are there instances that conform both to the 20 
order of mind-independent being and to the order of mind- 
dependent being. The statement has been a source of difficulties 
for many. For St. Thomas is speaking either of categorial rela- 
tion or of relation as it abstracts from the division into mind- 
independent and mind-dependent. If he is speaking in the first 
way, it is false that mind-dependent relations are found among 
the categorial relations, or else we have falsely asserted that for 
a categorial relation a mind-independent exercise of being- 
toward is required. If he is speaking in the second way, it is 
true that in relation conceived apart from the difference between 
being mind-independent and mind-dependent both terms of 
the division are found, but it is false to say that this way of con- 
sidering being is found to be possible only if the being con- 
sidered is itself a relation. For even in the case of substance 
something can be conceived fictively, which would be called 35 
a substance having its being from the mind, as are a chimera, 
a goat-deer, and similar mythical creatures. In the case of quan- 
tity, an imaginary arrangement of parts outside of parts can be 
conceived; and similarly in the other categories. Therefore some- 
thing objectively mind-dependent is not found in the case of 40 
relation alone. And Cajetan's response to this difficulty in his 
Commentary on the passage in question serves only to increase 
the difficulty, for he says, in his Commentary on the Summa 
theologica, I, q. 28, art. 1, that relation has this unique property, 
that for it to exist dependency on the mind is not a condition 
diminishing its rationale, because that relation which is mind- 
dependent is a true relation. This increases the difficulty, for 
it is certain that if a mental relation were a true relation, it would 
make a subject refer truly, not fictively, and therefore not 
through apprehension alone, but physically. so 

This difficulty has provided the occasion for many of 



bus. Cuius ratio sumitur ex Caietano 
ibi, et aliis interpretibus, quia in his 
relativis ex eo referuntur extrema ma- 
terialia, quia ipsae rationes fundandi 
referuntur; quia enim albedines sunt 
similes, res albae sunt similes. Unde e 
contra si albedines similes non sunt, 
quia est unica albedo, ipsa alba similia 
esse non possunt in albedine, sed sunt 
idem, utpote cum sit unica tantum et 
eadem albedo. Si vero sunt similia, erit 
in aliquo alio, non in ipsa ratione for- 
mali albi. Sed de hac difficultate hoc in- 
sinuasse sufficiat, magis enim spectat 
ad theologos et metaphysicos. 


Primo arguitur loco illo D. Thomae 
satis noto, sed difficili, 1. p. q. 28. art. 
1., ubi dicit, quod solum in his, quae 
sunt ad aliquid, inveniuntur aliqua se- 
cundum rem et aliqua secundum ratio- 
nem. Quae verba multis difficilia visa 
sunt. Nam vel loquitur D. Thomas de 
relatione praedicamentali vel de rela- 
tione, prout abstrahit a reali et rationis. 
Si primo modo, falsum est in relatione 
praedicamentali inveniri relationes ra- 
tionis, vel falso diximus ad relationem 
praedicamentalem requiri, quod sit rea- 
lis. Si secundo modo, verum est in rela- 
tione sic abstracta utramque reperiri, 
scilicet realem et rationis, sed falsum est 
hoc solum reperiri in relatione. Nam 
etiam in substantia potest aliquid ficte 
concipi, quod dicetur substantia ratio- 
nis, sicut chimaera, hircocervus et simi- 
lia, et in quantitate spatium imagina- 
rium et similia in aliis generibus. Ergo 
non in sola relatione invenitur aliquid 
rationis. Et auget difficultatem respon- 
sio Caietani ibidem, quod relatio pecu- 
liariter hoc habet, quod esse in ratione 
non est conditio diminuens, sed est 
vera relatio ilia, quae est rationis; con- 
stat enim, quod si esset vera relatio, 
vere faceret referre subiectum et non 
ficte, atque adeo neque per apprehen- 
sionem, sed realiter. 

Haec difficultas occasionem praebuit 
multis sinistre intelligendi Divum 

94 [580bl9-581a20] 


understanding St. Thomas in a twisted way, as it has also been 
the occasion of much poor philosophizing about relation. For 
some think that physical relation divides into two concepts, 
namely, the concept of an accident, which they call "being 
in," and the concept of a respect, which they call "being 
toward," and that the first is something mind-independent, 
while the second is either dependent upon mind or else ab- 
stracts from the mind-independent and the mind-dependent. 
Others think that St. Thomas wished only to assert that some- 
thing can be fabricated by human understanding on the pat- 
tern of a categorial relation. 13 Others, finally, think that he is 
speaking of relation as it abstracts from, i.e., is conceived apart 
from, the difference between being independent of or depen- 
dent upon mind. 

But the proponents of the first interpretation 14 exclude true 
mind-independence from the category of relation, if that which 
is proper to such a category namely, the respect and rationale 
of being toward is not instantiated independently of mind. 
But proponents of the second interpretation 15 do not speak of 
anything peculiar to relation, as St. Thomas posits, because 
some mind-dependent beings can also be formed on the pat- 
tern of the other categories of mind-independent being, as, 
for example, on the pattern of substance and of quantity, etc. 

Wherefore the third interpretation 16 is the truest as regards 
one point, namely, that St. Thomas is speaking of relation in 
its entire latitude, as it abstracts from being independent of 
or dependent upon mind. For he did not say that in the 
category of being-toward-something are found some things 
conformed to the order of mind-dependent being, but he said 
unqualifiedly, "in the case of these things, which are a being 
toward something," in order to indicate that he is not speak- 
ing of relation as it is a category determinately of mind- 
independent being, but according to itself absolutely to which 
point some who read St. Thomas less carefully ought to pay 
attention. St. Thomas, therefore, in the passage in question, 
is speaking of relation under the most formal concept of a 
being-toward, and he asserts that from that content by which 
the relation is considered toward a terminus, it both exists 
positively, and is not determinately a mind-independent form, but 
is indifferent to the exercise of a mind-independent or a mind- 
dependent act of existence, even though a categorial exercise 
of being-toward would also be mind-independently found- 
ed. And thus St. Thomas did not wish to point out which 
relation would be mind-independent or which mind-depen- 
dent, but [rather] the rationale or content owing to which rela- 
tion is [peculiarly] able to be mind-independent or mind- 

Thomarn aut minus bene philosophandi 
de relatione . Q u i d a m enirn existimant 
relationem realem partiri in duos con- 
ceptus, scilicet in conceptum accidentis, 

5 quern vocant in, et respectum, quem 
vocant ad; et primum esse realem, se- 
cundum rationis vel abstrahere a reali 
et rationis. Alii existimant solum volu- 
isse D. Thomam significare, quod potest 

w aliquid excogitari per rationem ad instar 
relationis praedicamentalis. 13 Alii deni- 
que, quod loquitur de relatione, ut ab- 
strahit a reali et rationis. 

Sed p r i m i 14 excludunt veram reali- 

15 tatem in praedicamento relationis, si id, 
quod est proprium talis praedicamen- 
ti, scilicet respectus et ratio ad, non reali- 
zatur. S e c u n d i 15 vero non dicunt ali- 
quid peculiare relationis, ut S. Thomas 

20 ponit, quia etiam possunt aliqua entia 
rationis formari ad similitudinem alio- 
rum generum, v. g. ad instar substan- 
tiae et quantitatis etc. 

Quare tertia expositio 16 quantum 

25 ad unum verissima est, scilicet quod D. 
Thomas loquitur de relatione in tota sua 
latitudine, ut abstrahit a reali et rationis. 
Neque enim dixit S. Doctor, quod in 
praedicamento Ad aliquid inveniuntur 

30 aliqua secundum rationem, sed absolute 
dixit ,,in his, quae sunt ad aliquid", ut 
significaret se non loqui de relatione, ut 
determinate est genus, sed absolute se- 
cundurn se. Quod deberent aliqui atten- 

35 dere, qui minus sollicite legunt S. Doc- 
torem. Itaque loquitur Divus Thomas de 
relatione sub forrnalissimo conceptu ad 
et significat, quod ex ilia parte, qua con- 
sideratur ad terminum, et positive se 

40 habet et non est determinate realis for- 
ma, sed permittit, quod sit ens reale vel 
rationis; licet ad praedicamentale et fun- 
datum reale sit. Et ita non voluit D. 
Thomas significare, quae relatio sit realis 

45 vel quae rationis, sed ex qua parte habet 
relatio, quod possit esse realis vel ratio- 

13 This is the interpretation settled on by Suarez in the Disputationes Metaphysicae, disp. 47, 
sect. 3, par. 5. He discusses the view of Cajetan in par. 2. 

14 94/3-8. 

15 94/9-11. 

16 94/11-14. 


[581a20-b23] 95 

dependent, namely, the rationale or content whereby it is 
toward a terminus; for even though it can have a mind- 
independent existence there, yet it does not have a mind- 
independent existence from there. St. Thomas makes this 
point expressly in his Commentary on the Sentences Written 
for Annibald, Book I, dist. 26, q. 2, art. I, 17 where he says 
that "relation can be considered in two ways. In one way, 
as regards that toward which it is said to be [i.e., its ter- 
minus], from which it has the rationale of a relation, and 
as regards this it need not posit anything, although too it 
need not for this reason be nothing; for there are certain 
respects which are something in the order of being as it 
exists independently of mind, but certain others which are 
nothing in the order of mind-independent being. In another 
way, relation can be considered as regards that in which it 
is, and so when it has existence in a subject, it is in the sub- 
ject independently of mind." Thus St. Thomas. 

But how this is peculiar to the case of relation and is not found 
in the other categories, we say is owing to the fact that in 
the other categories their proper and most formal rationale 
cannot be understood positively unless it is also understood 
entitatively, because their positive rationale is toward them- 
selves only and subjective, and for this reason is not under- 
stood positively unless also entitatively; for that which is 
toward itself is an entity. Only relation has [both] to be 
being and toward being, and from that content by which 
it is toward being, it exists positively, yet it does not have 
thence the rationale of being mind-independent. But a mind- 
independent existence comes to relation from one source, 
namely, from a [mind-independent] fundament, the posi- 
tive rationale of toward from elsewhere, namely, from the 
terminus, from which the relation does not have to be being, 
but toward being, although that toward is truly mind-inde- 
pendent when it is founded. That therefore something can 
be considered positively, even if it does not exist entita- 
tively independently of mind, is proper to relation. And this 
is all that Cajetan wished to say in his Commentary on the 
passage in question from the Summa theologica, when he 
said that a mind-dependent relation is a true relation, not 
by the truth of an entity and of an informing form, but 
by the truth of an objective and positive tendency toward 
a term. 18 Nor did Cajetan say that in the case of a 
categorial relation, the very toward is something con- 
structed; for he says expressly that it is truly instantiated 








nis, scilicet ex parte, qua est ad termi- 
num; licet enim ibi realitatem habere 
possit, non tamen inde. Quod expressit 
S. Doctor in 1. ad Annibaldum dist. 26. 
q. 2. art. I. 17 dicens, quod relatio potest 
dupliciter considerari, uno modo quan- 
tum ad id, ad quod dicitur, ex quo ra- 
tionem relationis habet, et quantum ad 
hoc non habet, quod ponat aliquid, 
quamvis etiam ex hoc non habeat, quod 
nihil sit; sunt enim quidam respectus, 
qui sunt aliquid secundum rem, quidam 
vero, qui nihil. Alio modo quantum ad 
id, in quo est, et sic quando habet earn 
in subiecto, realiter inest. Sic D. Tho- 

Quomodo autem hoc sit peculiare in 
relatione et 'n aliis generibus non in- 
veniatur, dicimus ex eo esse, quia in aliis 
generibus ratio propria et formalissima 
eorum non potest positive intelligi, nisi 
entitative etiam intelligatur, quia positiva 
eorum ratio est ad se tantum et absoluta, 
et ideo non intelligitur positive nisi etiam 
entitative, quod enim est ad se, entitas 
est. Sola relatio habet esse ens et ad ens, 
et pro ea parte, qua se habet ad ens, 
positive se habet, nee tamen inde habet 
entitatem realem. Sed aliunde relationi 
provenit realitas, scilicet a fundamento, 
aliunde positiva ratio ad, scilicet ex ter- 
mino, ex quo non habet esse ens, sed ad 
ens, licet Uliid ad vere reale sit, quando 
fundatum est. Quod ergo aliquid possit 
considerari positive, etiamsi non en- 
titative realiter, proprium relationis est. 
Et hoc solum voluit dicere Caietanus cit. 
loco, cum dixit relationem rationis esse 
veram relationem, non veritate entitatis 
et f ormae informantis, sed veritate obiec- 
tivae et positivae tendentiae ad termi- 
num. 18 Neque Caietanus dixit, quod in 
relatione praedicamentali ipsum ad est 
aliquid rationis; expresse enim dicit, 
quod vere realizatur. 

17 Pa XXII. 76 a. 

18 Poinsot's exegesis of Cajetan on this central point of St. Thomas's understanding of rela- 
tion is nicely confirmed and summarized by the following remark from Cajetan's Commentary (1507 
publication date) on the Summa theologica, I, q. 28, art. 1, par. 9: "relatio est tale ens, cui additum 
esse in ratione non est conditio diminuens, sicut in aliis. Rosa enim secundum rationem, non est rosa; 
neque Homerus in opinione, est Homerus; relatio autem in ratione, est vera relatio. . . . Nee distinctio rosae 

96 [581b24-582al6] 


When one insists that, as a matter of fact, other 
kinds of being too can in this way be said to be something 
mind-dependent as a mind-dependent substance will be a 
chimera, a mind-dependent quantity an imaginary space, and 
so on for the other categories: The response is that, as was ex- 5 
plained in our First Preamble on mind-dependent being, 19 
that on whose pattern a mind-dependent being is formed is 
not called mind-dependent; for mind-dependent being is 
formed on the pattern of mind-independent being, but that 
unreal being which is conceived on the pattern of a mind- w 
independent being is called a mind-dependent being. There 
is not therefore mind-dependent substance nor mind-de- 
pendent quantity, because even though some non-being may 
be conceived on the pattern of a substance for example, 
the chimera and some on the pattern of quantity for exam- 15 
pie, imaginary space yet neither substance itself nor any ra- 
tionale of subjectivity is conceived by the understanding and 
formed in being on the pattern of some other mind-indepen- 
dent being. And for this reason that negation or chimerical 
non-being and that non-being of an imaginary space will be 20 
said to be a mind-dependent being. But this [i.e., any unreal 
object whatever conceived as being a subject or a subjective 
modification of being] is the mind-dependent being which 
is called negation, yet it will not be a mind-dependent sub- 
stance, because substance itself is not conceived as a mind- 25 
dependent being patterned after some mind-independent 
being rather, negations or non-beings are conceived on the 
pattern of substance and quantity. But in the case of relatives, 
indeed, not only is there some non-being conceived on the pat- 
tern of relation, but also the very relation conceived on the part 30 
of the respect toward, while it does not exist in the mind- 
independent order, is conceived or formed on the pattern of a 
mind-independent relation, and so that which is formed in 
being, and not only that after whose pattern it is formed, is 
a relation, and by reason of this there are in fact mind-depen- 35 
dent relations, but not mind-dependent substances. 20 

Quando vero instatur, quod etiarn 
alia genera possunt hoc modo dici ali- 
quid rationis, sicut substantia rationis erit 
chimaera, quantitas rationis spatium i- 
maginarium, et sic de aliis: Respondetur, 
quod, ut supra dictum est [in] Praeam- 
bulo Primo art. I., 19 non dicitur ens ra- 
tionis illud, ad cuius instar formatur; for- 
matur enim ens rationis ad instar entis 
realis, sed dicitur ens rationis illud non 
reale, quod ad instar realis entis con- 
cipitur. Non datur ergo substantia ra- 
tionis nee quantitas rationis, quia licet 
aliquod non ens concipiatur ad instar 
substantiae, v. g. chimaera, et aliquid ad 
instar quantitatis, v. g. spatium imagi- 
narium, non tamen ipsa substantia vel 
aliqua substantiae ratio concipitur per ra- 
tionem et formatur in esse ad instar al- 
terius entis realis. Et ideo ilia negatio 
seu non ens chimaerae, et illud non ens 
spatii imaginarii dicetur ens rationis. Sed 
hoc est ens rationis, quod vocatur nega- 
tio, non autem erit substantia rationis, 
cum non ipsa substantia ut ens rationis 
ad instar alicuius realis concipiatur, sed 
negationes seu non entia ad instar sub- 
stantiae et quantitatis. At vero in relati- 
vis non solum aliquod non ens concipitur 
ad instar relationis, sed etiam ipsa relatio 
ex parte respectus ad, cum non existit in 
re, concipitur seu formatur ad instar rela- 
tionis realis, et sic est, quod formatur in 
esse, et non solum id, ad cuius instar for- 
matur, et ratione huius datur relatio ra- 
tionis, non substantia rationis. 20 

in esse naturae et esse rationis, est distinctio diversarum quidditatum, quarum una sit ens reale, et altera 
sit ens rationis, ut in relatione contingere diximus: sed est distinctio unius et eiusdem secundum diversos 
modos essendi, scilicet simpliciter vel secundum quid." "Relation is the sort of being for which the 
qualification existing in the mind does not detract from what is proper to it, as it does detract from 
what is proper to all other sorts of being. For a rose formed by thought is not a rose, nor is Homer 
in the mind's consideration Homer; but a relation formed by the mind is a true relation .... 
Nor is the distinction between a rose in natural existence and in mental existence a distinction 
of two diverse things, of which the one is a mind-independent being and the other a mind- 
dependent being, as we have said happens in the case of relation: but it is a distinction of one 
and the same thing according to different modes of existing, namely, absolutely or relatively." 
The interested reader is well advised to read this entire article of Cajetan's Commentary on this 
point so essential for semiotic. 

19 In the original Latin: "q. 12. art. 1," which would seem to be an error, since the reference 
does fit q. 2 (i.e., our First Preamble), art. 1, 57/26-30, but does not fit anything discussed in art. 
1 of q. 12 of the Logic (q. 12: "De accidente cjuinto praedicabili""On the fifth predicable accident"; 
art. 1: "Utrum definitiones et divisiones accidentis recte sint traditae a Porphyrio" "Whether the defini- 
tions and divisions of accident are rightly treated by Porphyry"). 

20 Cf. above, the First Preamble, Article 3, 69/13-40. 


It is argued secondly: the supreme genus Secundo arguitur: Supremum genus 

of this category is a true mind-independent rela- huius praedicamenti est vera relatio rea- 

tion, and yet this genus does not have a terminus lis, et tamen non habet terminum dis- 

distinct from itself, which it respects; therefore we tinctum a se, quem respiciat; ergo falso 

have falsely said that this is required for a real cate- 5 diximus hoc requiri ad relationem realem 

gorial relation. praedicamentalem. 

The minor is proved by the fact that the ter- Minor probatur, quia vel ille terminus 

minus in question is something relative or something est aliquid relativum vel absolutum. Non 

absolute. It is not absolute because (as we will our- absolutum, quia, ut infra 21 dicemus, for- 

selves say below 21 ) the formal terminus of a rela- w malis terminus relationis non est aliquid 

tion is not something absolute, but relative. Besides absolutum, sed relativum. Praeterquam 

which, that absolute cannot be anything mind-in- quod iUud absolutum non potest esse ali- 

dependent existing in the singular; for relation in quid reale existens in singular!; nee enim 

general cannot respect something determinately sin- relatio in communi potest respicere pro 

gular as terminus, for thus all relations would re- is termino aliquid singulare determinate, 

spect that determinate thing. But if it is something sic enim omnes relationes ilium respi- 

abstracted from singulars, that something cannot cerent. Si autem est aliquid abstractum a 

terminate a physical relation, because it is not given singularibus, illud non potest terminare 

21 Logica 2. p. q. 17. art. 5., "Utrum relatio formaliter terminetur ad absolutum vel ad relativum" 
("Whether a relation is formally terminated at something absolute or at something relative"), 
Reiser ed., I. 596a43-b36: "Dico primo: Ratio formalis termini relativi, ut terminus est, non potest esse 
aliquid omnino absolutum et ad se. 

"Ratio est duplex: Prima, quia terminus in quantum terminus formaliter alicuius est terminus; nihil 
enim terminat nisi alterum. Ergo terminus relationis est aliquid relationis; ergo si est relatio praedicamen- 
talis, terminus illius est pure terminus, id est non habet aliud quam terminare seu opponi relationi et esse 
aliquid ipsius ut respicientis. In quo differt a fundamento, quia fundamentum oportet, quod det esse rela- 
tioni secundum inhaerentiam, in quo esse convenit cum accidente absoluto. Terminus autem non dat esse 
relationi, sed oppositionem terminationis. Ergo formalitas termini non est aliquid absolutum. 

"Secunda ratio est, quia, ut constat ex D. Thoma 1. ad Annibaldum dist. 30. quaest. unica art. 1. 
ad 3 [Pa XXII. 84 b.], terminus non potest intelligi nisi sub opposita habitudine. Et 2. Contra Gent, 
cap. 11. dicit, quod 'non potest intelligi aliquid relative did ad alterum, nisi e converso illud relative dicatur 
ad ipsum. ' Et ratio est, quia relatio ut relatio oppositionem habet non minus quam contrarietas vel privatio; 
non habet autem oppositionem nisi ad suum terminum; ergo terminus ut terminus est oppositus ei relative. 
Sicut ergo non potest intelligi relatio nisi ut habens oppositionem ad terminum, ita neque terminus formaliter 
intelligitur nisi ut oppositus; sed ilia oppositio est relativa; ergo in quantum terminus est aliquid relativum." 
"I say first: the formal character of the terminus of a relative, as it is a terminus, cannot be 
something entirely absolute and existing in itself. 

"The reason is twofold. In the first place, a terminus, insofar as it is such formally, is the 
terminus of something; for nothing terminates unless it terminates another. Therefore the ter- 
minus of a relation is something, i.e., a part, of the relation; therefore if the relation is categorial, 
its terminus is purely such, that is, it does not have other than to terminate or to be opposed 
to the relation and to be something of that relation as of a respecting. In this the terminus differs 
from the fundament, because it is necessary for the fundament to give existence to the relation 
according to inherence, in which existence the relation comes together with an absolute acci- 
dent. But the terminus does not give existence to the relation, but the opposition of termina- 
tion. Therefore the formality of the terminus is not something absolute. 

"In the second place, as is clear from Book I, dist. 30, q. 1, art. 1, reply to objection 3 of 
St. Thomas's Commentary on the Sentences Written for Annibald, a terminus cannot be understood 
except under a condition of opposition. And in Book 2, chapter 11, of the Summa contra gentiles, 
St. Thomas says that 'one thing spoken of relative to another thing cannot be understood unless 
that other thing is spoken of conversely as relative to the first.' And the reason is that a relation 
as a relation has an opposition no less than does contrariety or privation; but it does not have 
an opposition except to its terminus; therefore the terminus as terminus is opposed to it relatively. 
Just therefore as relation cannot be understood except as having an opposition to a terminus, 
so neither can a terminus be understood formally except as something opposed; but that op- 
position is something relative; therefore a terminus of a relation is something relative insofar 
as it is a terminus." 

98 [582a37-b47] 


on the side of mind-independent being. But if 
it is something relative, either it is equal to that 
supreme genus or inferior. If equal, two genera 
of relations are given. If inferior, it would be re- 
spected by relation in general as that of which 
relation is predicated, not as that at which relation 
is terminated essentially as relation, but as some- 
thing universal. 

The response to this 22 is that relation in general 
does not respect a terminus in act and in exercise, 
but is only conceived as the rationale and definable 
essence of relation itself and as a superior grade by 
which individual relations are constituted for re- 
specting, not [as] that which exertively respects, 
for relation [generically considered] has this through 
its inferiors; just as first substance taken vaguely 
and in general is that by which accidents are sup- 
ported, not that which exertively supports them. 
And the reason for this is that relation generically 
taken is not the concept of relation as opposed, 
but as uniting by a common rationale the nature 
of relation. Whence in that concept both relatives 
and correlatives come together, they do not have 
therein an opposition; but a relation is not exer- 
cised toward a terminus except under a relative 
opposition. And thus relation conceived under a 
generic concept is stripped of a state of opposition 
and only explicates the concept in which all rela- 
tions agree, but not the exercise of respecting a 
terminus, even though it is the rationale of respect- 
ing that in its inferiors. And even in the opinion that 
the terminus of a relation is something absolute, 
terminus in general cannot be understood univo- 
cally, because according to this opinion a terminus 
of a relation is found in whatever category, nor can 
one terminus which is respected by relation as such 
come about from all the categories; but a determinate 
terminus it does not respect, since it is generic 

It is argued thirdly: Transcendental rela- 
tions also have their whole being toward another. 
For example, the whole essence of matter is relative 
to form, the whole essence of habit and of act is rela- 
tive to an object; for thence they have their entire 
specific rationale. But a categorial relation, on the 
contrary, does not have its whole being toward 
another, because it is also an inhering accident, and 
so has being in, not toward, the subject of the 

relationem realem, cum non detur a parte 
rei. Si autem est aliquid relativum, vel est 
illi aequale vel inferius. Si aequale, dabun- 
tur duo genera relationum. Si inferius, re- 

5 spicietur a relatione in communi ut id, de 
quo praedicatur, non ut id, ad quod ter- 
minatur per se ut relatio, sed ut universale. 
RESPONDETUR, 22 quod relatio in com- 
muni non respicit terminum in actu et in 

w exercitio, sed solum concipitur ut ratio et 
quidditas ipsius relationis et ut gradus su- 
perior, quo relationes inferiores constitu- 
untur ad respiciendum, non id, quod ex- 
ercite respicit, id enim habet per sua infer- 

15 iora; sicut substantia prima vage et in com- 
muni accepta est id, quo substatur acciden- 
tibus, non id, quod exercite illis substat. Et 
huius ratio est, quia relatio generice sump- 
ta non est conceptus relationis ut oppositae, 

20 sed ut unientis ratione communi naturam 
relationis. Unde in illo conveniunt tam 
relativa quam correlativa, non in illo op- 
positionem habent; relatio autem non exer- 
cetur ad terminum nisi sub oppositione 

25 relativa. Et ita relatio concepta sub conceptu 
generico exuit statum oppositionis et tan- 
rum explicat conceptum, in quo conveniunt 
omnes relationes, non autem exercitium re- 
spiciendi terminum, licet sit ratio respicien- 

30 di ilium in suis inferioribus. Et etiam in 
sententia, quod terminus relationis sit ali- 
quid absolutum, non tamen potest accipi 
terminus in communi tamquam aliquid 
unum, quia secundum hanc sententiam in 

35 quocumque genere invenitur terminus rela- 
tionis nee potest ex omnibus generibus 
unus terminus fieri, qui respiciatur a rela- 
tione ut sic; determinatum autem termi- 
num non respicit, cum sit generica rela- 

40 tio. 

Tertio arguitur: Relationes transcenden- 
tales etiam habent totum suum esse ad 
aliud, sicut tota essentia materiae est ad for- 
mam, tota essentia habitus et actus ad ob- 

45 iectum; inde enim habent totam speciem. 
E contra vero relatio praedicamentalis non 
totum suum esse habet ad aliud, cum etiam 
sit accidens inhaerens, et sic habet esse in 
subiecto, non ad subiectum. 

22 to 97/1-98/8. 


[583al-50] 99 

This is confirmed by the fact that a transcenden- 
tal relation too depends upon its terminus, just as does 
an ontological relation. There is, therefore, no reason why 
a transcendental relation could be terminated at something 
nonexistent, but not a categorial relation. 

The response to this 23 is that a transcendental rela- 
tion is not primarily and essentially toward another in 
the way a categorial relation is, for, even though the 
entire specific rationale and essence of transcendental 
relations derives from or depends on another, it is 
nevertheless not toward another. For example, matter 
depends on form, and act on object, as upon causes 
from which they have existence and specification. And 
from this it results that they respect that other as a ter- 
minus. But that it be primarily and essentially toward 
another as toward a terminus is proper to categorial rela- 
tion. And for this reason it is said that categorial rela- 
tion respects a terminus purely as a terminus, that is, 
only as toward another, not as from another or con- 
cerning another or by any other mode of causality what- 
ever, in the way that transcendental relation respects 
a terminus not purely but by reason of some mode of 
causality. But the fact that a categorial relation is said 
to be in a subject does not take away from the fact that 
its whole being is toward another "whole," I say, that 
is, the being proper and peculiar to itself, in which it 
differs from other absolute categories or subjective kinds 
of being; yet by supposing the common rationale of an 
accident, namely, to be in something, by reason of 
which rationale an accident does not have to be toward 
another, but does not exclude it either. 

To the confirmation 24 the response is that a transcen- 
dental relation is not primarily and essentially toward 
another, as has been said, but from another or concern- 
ing another, as a dependency or a causality or some- 
thing of the kind; which can sometimes be verified not 
by that which is the case in fact but by that which could 
be the case or that which is required for something's 
being the case. But a categorial relation, because it has 
its whole being toward another, does not arise except 
from the positing in fact of the extremes. Whence if 
either is lacking, the categorial relation itself ceases to be. 

Confirmatur, quia relatio transcen- 
dentalis etiam dependet a suo termino sicut 
relatio secundum esse. Ergo non est ratio, 
cur transcendentalis possit terminari ad 

5 non existens, non vero praedicamentalis. 
RESPONDETUR, 23 quod relatio transcen- 
dentalis non est primo et per se ad aliud 
sicut praedicamentalis, quia licet tota ea- 
rum species et essentia sumatur ab alio 

w vel dependeat ab alio, non tamen ad 
aliud, sicut materia dependet a forma et 
actus ab obiecto sicut a causis, a quibus 
habent esse et specif icationem. Et ex hoc 
consequitur, quod respiciunt illud ut ter- 

15 minurn. Sed quod primo et per se sit ad 
aliud ut ad terminum, est proprium rela- 
tionis praedicamentalis. Et ideo dicitur, 
quod respicit terminum ut pure termi- 
num, id est tantum ut ad aliud, non ut 

20 ab alio vel circa aliud vel quocumque alio 
causalitatis modo sicut transcendentalis. 
Quod vero relatio praedicamentalis di- 
citur esse in subiecto, non tollit, quin 
totum suurn esse sit ad aliud, toturn, in- 

25 quam, id est proprium et peculiare ipsius 
esse, in quo differt ab aliis generibus 
absolutis; supponendo tamen rationem 
communem accidentis, scilicet esse in ali- 
quo, ratione cuius non habet esse ad 

so aliud, sed nee id excludit. 

Ad confirmationem 24 respondetur, 
quod transcendentalis relatio non est primo 
et per se ad aliud, ut dictum est, sed ab alio 
vel circa aliud, ut dependentia vel causa- 

35 litas aut aliquid simile; quod aliquando 
salvari potest non per id, quod de facto 
est sed per id, quod convenire potest, vel 
postulat, ut conveniat. Relatio autem prae- 
dicamentalis,. quia totum suum esse habet 

40 ad aliud, non consurgit nisi ex positione 
extremorum. Unde altero illorum deficiente 

23 to 98/40-99/5. 

24 99/1-5. 



What Are the Divisions of Categorial Relation 
and What Are Its Essential Types 


Quae Sint Divisiones Relationis Praedicamentalis 
et Eius Species 

In divisions of categorial relation we can consider 
two lines of dividing, one according to conditions in- 
cidental to the relation, another according to its specific 
and essential differences. 

In the first line, relation is divided in two ways. 5 
First, into reciprocal and nonreciprocal relations. 1 Sec- 
ond, reciprocal relations are divided into symmetrical 
and asymmetrical relations. A relation is reciprocal, 
when there is on the side of each extreme a relation 
of the same order or rationale of being that is to say: w 
if a reciprocal relation is in its being independent of 
being cognized (mind-independent) , then it is so on 
the side of both extremes; if it is mind-dependent, then 
both extremes are dependent upon being known. For 
example: father and son are referred reciprocally. Nor 
is it sufficient that they are mutually converted, because 
even nonreciprocal things are converted, that is, one 
respects and the other is respected. A nonreciprocal 
relation, conversely, exists when there is a true and 
proper relation in one extreme only, as, for example, 20 
a creature in relation to God, knowledge in relation 
to the knowable. A symmetrical relation is a reciprocal 
relation of the same rationale or denomination, as, for 
example, a relation of similarity and a relation of equal- 
ity: both extremes denominate something "similar" 25 
or "equal." An asymmetrical relation is a relation 
which denominates differently in each terminus or sub- 


In divisionibus relationis praedicamen- 
talis possumus considerare DUPLICEM LI- 
NE AM DIVIDENDI: Prima penes conditiones 
accidentales relationis, secunda penes spe- 
cies et essentiales differentias. 

Primo modo dividitur relatio dupli- 
citer: Primo in relationes mutuas et non 
mutuas. 1 Et secundo relatio mutua dividitur 
in relationem aequiparantiae et disquipa- 
rantiae. Relatio mutua est, quando ex parte 
utriusque extremi datur ad invicem relatio 
eiusdem ordinis seu entitatis, id est, si sit 
relatio realis, quod ex parte utriusque ex- 
tremi realis sit, si sit rationis, quod utraque 
sit rationis; v. g. pater et filius mutuo re- 
feruntur. Nee sufficit quod mutuo conver- 
tantur, quia etiam non mutua convertun- 
tur, id est unum respicit et aliud respicitur. 
Relatio non mutua est e converse, quando 
tantum in uno extreme est relatio vera et 
propria, sicut in creatura ad Deum, in sci- 
entia ad scibile. Relatio aequiparantiae est 
relatio mutua eiusdem rationis seu denomi- 
nationis, sicut relatio similitudinis et relatio 
aequalitatis utrumque extremum denomi- 
nat simile vel aequale. Relatio disquipa- 
rantiae est diversae denominationis in utro- 

or: "bilateral and unilateral." 


[583b41-584a44] 101 

ject, as father is said relative to son, not to father, and 
a master to a servant, not to another master. And these 
divisions are called incidental (based on concomitant 
attributes of relations rather than on relations as such), 
because the rationales of the reciprocal and of the non- 5 
reciprocal, the symmetrical and the asymmetrical, are 
not understood directly according to their fundaments 
and termini but as consequent upon a relation's mode of 
touching a given terminus and fundament, from which 
two factors the essential type of a relation is derived, w 

In the second line of division, relation is divided into 
essential types according to the fundaments of relation, 
to which fundaments must also correspond diverse for- 
mal termini. Now the Philosopher, in his Metaphysics, 
Book 5, chap. 15 2 (reading 17 of St. Thomas's Commen- is 
tan/ 3 ), proposes three fundaments by which relation in 
general is divided. The first fundament is that of sub- 
jects relative according to unity and number. On unity 
and number are founded relations of similarity and 
dissimilarity, agreement and disagreement, etc. The sec- 20 
ond fundament is that of subjects relative according to 
action and reception. For example, it is in this way that 
all effects and causes are relative. The third fundament 
is in subjects relative by being one a measure and the 
other measurable, as cognitive powers are measured 25 
by the objects which properly specify them. 

The sufficiency of this division St. Thomas estab- 
lishes in the passage of his Commentary on the Metaphysics 
of Aristotle cited above. 4 To understand the Commentary 
at this point, one must bear in mind that, although every 30 
absolute category of mind-independent being can be 
the subject of a relation as materially receiving and de- 
nominated by the given relation, yet only those char- 
acteristics of subjects which have the rationale of order- 
ing one subject to another can have the rationale of a 35 
fundament. Whence it happens that, as St. Thomas says 
in his Disputed Questions on the Power of God, q. 7, art. 8, 5 
through "substance" and "quality," according to their 
proper concepts, a thing is not ordered to anything but 
itself otherwise than incidentally, inasmuch as a qual- 40 
ity or a substantial form or matter possesses the ration- 
ale of an active or a passive energy, or according as 
some rationale of quantity namely, unity (identity) or 
number [nonidentity] is considered in them. Where- 
fore those things alone which induce a rationale of 45 
ordering one thing to another are foundations for re- 

que extremo, sicut pater dicitur ad filium, 
non ad patrem, et dominus ad servum, non 
ad alium dominum. Et istae divisiones di- 
cuntur accidentales, quia ratio mutui et non 
mutui, aequiparantiae vel disquiparantiae, 
non sumuntur directe penes fundamenta 
et terminos, sed consequuntur relationem 
secundum modum tangendi talem termi- 
num et fundamentum, a quibus species 
relationis sumitur. 

Secundo modo sumitur divisio rela- 
tionis in species essentiales penes funda- 
menta relationum, quibus etiam debent 
correspondere diversi termini formales. 
Proposuit autem Philosophus 5. Metaph., 2 
lect. 17. apud D. Thomam, 3 tria fundamen- 
ta, quibus generaliter dividitur relatio. Pri- 
mum fundamentum est penes unitatem et 
numerum, in quibus fundantur relationes 
similitudinis et dissimilitudinis, convenien- 
tiae et disconvenientiae etc. Secundum fun- 
damentum est penes actionem et passio- 
nem sicut omnes effectus et causae. Tertium 
penes mensuram et mensurabile, sicut po- 
tentiae mensurantur a suis obiectis, a qui- 
bus specif icantur. 

SUFFICIENTIAM huius divisionis colligit 
S. Thomas loco cit. 4 Quae ut intelligatur, 
est advertendum, quod licet omne prae- 
dicamentum absolutum possit esse subiec- 
tum relationis, quasi materialiter recipiens 
illam et denominatum ab ilia, non tamen 
potest habere rationem fundamenti nisi id, 
quod habet rationem ordinandi unum ad 
aliud. Ex quo fit, quod, ut dicit S. Thomas 
q. 7. de Potentia art. 8., 5 per substantiam 
et qualitatem secundum suos proprios con- 
ceptus non ordinatur aliquid nisi ad seip- 
sum, non ad alterum, nisi per accidens, se- 
cundum quod qualitas vel forma substan- 
tialis aut materia habet rationem virtutis 
activae vel passivae, aut in eis consideratur 
aliqua ratio quantitatis, id est unitas seu 
identitas aut numerus. Quare solum erunt 
fundamenta relationum ilia, quae inducunt 
rationem ordinandi unum ad aliud. Omne 

2 c. 15. (1020 b 26). 

3 Pa XX. 420 a. 

4 101/14-17. 

5 Pa VIII. 161 b. 

102 [584a45-585alO] 


lations. But every thing which is ordered to another is 
ordered either according to being, or according to opera- 
tionor power to operate, or according to proportion, 
that is to say, number and agreement. If it is ordered 
to another according to being, it is a fundament for rela- 
tions of measure and measurable, because those things 
are measured which receive being and specification 
dependency from another. If according to operation and 
power, it is a fundament according to action and recep- 
tion. If according to proportion and agreement, which 
the Philosopher calls according to quantity (that is, unity 
or number), it is a fundament for relations of unity and 
diversity, agreement and disagreement. But there is no 
fourth rationale habilitating and ordering one thing to 
another which cannot be reduced to one of these three. 
Many of the customarily disputed points concern- 
ing the foundations of ontological relations pertain to 
Metaphysics. But the disputed points must be at least 
partially brought to resolution here, because without 
at least some awareness of these points, the rationale 
of the categorial relation cannot be perfectly isolated by 
the understanding. And the points of difficulty are re- 
duced to three. First, whether mind-independent rela- 
tions themselves, precisely as such, are able to found 
other relations. Second, whether each of these three 
fundaments truly founds categorial relations, or only 
relations according to the way being must be expressed 
in discourse. Third, whether relations of the second type 
[action (causing) and reception (being caused)] have for 
their immediate fundament the very action and recep- 
tion, or the active and receptive dispositions. The ex- 
planation of the proper rationale and nature of the three 
fundaments will come out in the course of explaining 
these three points of basic difficulty. 


Concerning the first difficulty, 6 there is dissention be- 
tween the school of St. Thomas and the school of Scotus. 
For Scotus thinks that it is indeed possible for one cate- 
gorial relation to be founded on another such relation. 
The principal ground for this opinion is the 
absence of any reason why we should say that all the other 
natures which agree and differ among themselves 
whether they are substantial or accidental found a rela- 
tion of identity and agreement, but that two relations 
for example, two paternities or two filiations cannot 
found such relations, since they truly have agreement be- 
tween themselves and disagreement from others. Now the 
argument that relations are of themselves relative forms 

autem, quod ordinatur ad aliud, vel ordi- 
natur secundum esse vel secundum opera- 
tionem seu virtutem vel secundum propor- 
tionem seu numerum et convenientiam. Si 

5 secundum esse, est fundamentum mensu- 
rae et mensurabilis, quia ea mensurantur, 
quae accipiunt esse et specificationem ab 
alio. Si secundum operationem et virtutem, 
est fundamentum secundum actionem et 

w passionem. Si secundum proportionem et 
convenientiam, quod Philosophus vocat se- 
cundum quantitatem, id est unitatem vel 
numerum, est fundamentum unitatis et di- 
versitatis, convenientiae et disconvenient- 

15 iae. Nulla autem alia ratio datur habilitans 
et ordinans unum ad alterum, quae ad istas 
non reducatur. 

Plura autem solent circa ista fundamen- 
ta controverti, quae ad Metaphysicam spec- 

20 tant. Sed quia sine aliqua saltern eorum 
notitia non potest relationis praedicamenta- 
lis ratio perfecte dignosci, ideo saltern aliqua 
delibanda sunt. Et reducuntur ad TRES DIF- 
FICULTATES: Prim a, an ipsaemet relationes 

25 reales possint fundare alias. S e c u n d a, an 
revera omnia ista tria fundamenta fundent 
relationes praedicamentales, an solum se- 
cundum did. Tertia, an relationes secundi 
generis habeant pro fundamento immediate 

30 ipsam actionem et passionem, an potentiam 
activam et passivam. In quibus difficultati- 
bus explicandis obiter explicabitur propria 
ratio et natura talium fundamentorum. 


Circa primam difficultatem 6 est dissen- 
sio inter scholam D. Thomae et Scoti. Nam 
SCOTUS putat super relationem posse etiam 
fundari aliam relationem praedicamentalem. 

40 Cuiuspraecipua ratio est, quia non est, 
unde dicamus, quod omnes aliae naturae, 
sive substantiales sive accidentales, quae 
conveniunt et differunt inter se, fundent 
relationem identitatis et convenientiae, duae 

45 autem relationes, v. g. duae paternitates vel 
duae filiationes, id non possint fundare, 
cum vere habeant convenientiam inter se et 
disconvenientiam ab aliis. Quod vero rela- 
tiones sint formae relativae seipsis ideoque 

6 102/23-25. 


[585all-b22] 103 

and for this reason do not seem to need other relations 
in order to be similar or dissimilar, is a futile argument, 
because paternity, for example, is a form of being re- 
lated in the nature of father, not in the nature of similar 
or dissimilar; therefore it will need other relative forms 
in order to be similar or dissimilar. 

And this is confirmed by the fact that proportional- 
ity is defined (according to Euclid 7 ) as a similarity of 
two proportions. Therefore upon proportions, which 
are relations, is founded another relation, namely, one 
of similarity. 

OPPOSITE, in the Summa theologica, I, q. 42, art. 1, 
reply to obj. 4. And generally many authors agree. 
a progression into infinity among relations would 
follow. For if paternity, for example, founds a rela- 
tion of similarity to another paternity, it will also 
found a relation of dissimilarity to filiation or to any 
other relation. And again that relation of dissimilarity 
will found another of similarity to a similar type of 
relation, and the relation of similarity will found a 
dissimilarity to any other type. And so, by alter- 
nating into infinity, a relation of similarity will found 
a relation of dissimilarity to another and the relation 
of dissimilarity will found a relation of similarity to 
the similar. But for there to be an infinity of rela- 
tions is antinomic, both for the general reason 
against positing an actual infinite about which we 
speak in discussing Book 3 of Aristotle's Physics 6 
and for a special reason, because in causes with re- 
spect to effects there cannot be a progression into 
infinity because the infinite is not traversible, neither 
by motion nor by causality. For there will not be an 
assignable final effect, if infinite causalities and ef- 
fects precede. But the fundaments of relations are 
the causes or principles from which the relations 
result; therefore there is not an infinite regress in 

A twofold solution is usually assigned to this 
argument. The first solution admits a progression 
into infinity among relations, in the way that the 
division of a continuum into undesignatable parts 
is infinite. Others stop the progression with rela- 
tions that are referred according to the same ra- 
tionale; in this way, for example, two paternities 
found a relation of identity, yet the relation of iden- 
tity so founded does not found another relation of 

non videantur indigere aliis relationibus, 
ut sint similes vel dissimiles, futile est, quia 
paternitas v. g. est forma referendi in ra- 
tione patris, non in ratione similis vel dis- 

5 similis, ergo indigebit aliis formis relativis, 
ut sint similes vel dissimiles. 

Et confirmatur, quia proportionalitas se- 
cundum Euclidem 7 definitur similitudo du- 
arum proportionum. Ergo super proportio- 

w nes, quae sunt relationes, fundatur alia 
relatio, quae est similitudinis. 

Nihilominus oppositum tenet expresse 
S. Thomas 1. p. q. 42. art. 1. ad 4. Et com- 
muniter multi auctores sequuntur. FUNDA- 

15 MENTUM EST, quia sequcretur processus in 
infinitum in relationibus. Nam si paternitas 
v. g. fundat relationem similitudinis ad 
aliam paternitatem, etiam fundabit relatio- 
nem dissimilitudinis ad filiationem vel ad 

20 aliam relationem. Et rursus ilia relatio dis- 
similitudinis fundabit aliam similitudinis ad 
similem speciem relationis, et relatio simi- 
litudinis fundabit dissimilitudinem ad aliam 
speciem. Et sic alternando in infinitum 

25 similitudo fundabit dissimilitudinem ad 
aliud et dissimilitude ad simile. Dari autem 
infinitas relationes est inconveniens turn 
propter generalem rationem ponendi infini- 
tum in actu, de quo dicemus 3. Phys., 8 turn 

30 propter specialem rationem, quia in causis 
respectu effectuum non potest dari proces- 
sus in infinitum, quia infinitum non est 
pertransibile neque per motum neque per 
causalitatem. Non enim erit assignabilis 

35 ultimus effectus, si infinitae causalitates et 
effectus praecedunt. Fundamenta autem 
relationum sunt causae seu principia, ex 
quibus resultant; ergo in illis non datur pro- 
cessus in infinitum. 

40 DUPLEX SOLUTIO assignari solet huic ar- 
gumento. Prim a admittit processum in 
infinitum in relationibus, sicut divisio con- 
tinui in partes indesignabiles infinita est. 
Alii sistunt processum in relationibus, 

45 quae referuntur secundum eandem ratio- 
nem; sicut duae paternitates fundant rela- 
tionem identitatis, tamen relatio identitatis 
sic fundata non fundat aliam relationem 

7 Element. (1. 5.) defin. 3., 4., 7. 

8 Phil, nat. 1. p. q. 15. 

104 [585b22-586a31] 


similarity and identity, but by itself respects all iden- 

But the first solution admits a progression into in- 
finity in causes, which is rejected by the Philosopher 
in Book II, chap. 2, of the Metaphysics,* and which 
clearly calls for rejection, because if for one effect in- 
finite concourses or causalities are required, it is never 
possible to designate a final effect, because there is no 
assignable final concourse [of causes]. Moreover, even 
though in the case of the absolute power of God there 
is room for doubt whether there can be an actual in- 
finite, yet no one doubts that it cannot be given na- 
turally, as is proved in my discussion of Book III of 
the Physics. 10 There is therefore no infinite progression 
in the causation of relations. The example of the divi- 
sion of the continuum is not to the point, because 
that infinity is not one of actually divided parts, but 
is a quantity divisible potentially and syncategore- 
matically; but the relations in our case are actually 

The second solution, on the other hand, is exclud- 
ed by the reason given above." For we do not say that 
on one relation is founded only a relation of similarity 
which, by itself in all cases and not through a super- 
added relation, will have a similarity to others, but we 
also say 12 that that one relation founds a relation of 
dissimilarity, just as it founds one of similarity. And 
then by alternating, the infinite progression follows, 
because upon the relation of similarity we found one 
of dissimilarity, and upon the relation of dissimilarity 
we found one of similarity. And again by commutating 
we find always a new relation and a procession into 
infinity, which argument the second solution does not 
render void, speaking as it does only of a relation of 
one rationale. 

The response to the basis of the opposed argu- 
ment 13 is that relations of the same type indeed have 
a similarity and agreement that is quasi-transcenden- 
tal [i.e., according to the way they must be expressed 
in discourse], but not a categorial relative, for other- 
wise an infinite progression would result, as has 
been said. But we can investigate a-priori the rea- 
son for this, in terms of the feebleness of rela- 
tion, which has so minimal a rationale of entitative 
being that it is not sufficient to found a mind-inde- 
pendent relation; for in fact every fundament must 

similitudinis et identitatis, sed seipsa re- 
spicit omnem identitatem. 

Sed prima solutio admittit processum 
in infinitum in causis, qui a Philosopho 

5 reprobatur in 2. Metaph. 9 et ex se patet, 
quia si ad unum effectum requiruntur in- 
finiti concursus seu causalitates, numquam 
potest signari ultimus effectus, quia non est 
designabilis ultimus concursus. Et prae- 

w terea, licet de potentia absoluta vertatur in 
dubium, an possit dari infinitum in actu, 
tamen naturaliter nullus dubitat dari non 
posse, ut 3. Phys. probatur. 10 Non ergo 
datur processus in infinitum in causatione 

is relationum. Exemplum autem de divisione 
continui non est ad rem, quia ilia infinitas 
non est partium actu divisarum, sed est 
quantitas divisibilis in potentia et syncate- 
gorematice; relationes autem in nostro casu 

20 sunt infinitae actu. 

S e c u n d a vero solutio ex ratione supra 
posita 11 exclusa est. Non enim dicimus in 
una relatione solum fundari relationem 
similitudinis, quae utique seipsa, et non per 

25 relationem superadditam, similitudinem 
habebit ad alias, sed etiam dicimus 12 unam 
relationem fundare relationem dissimilitu- 
dinis, sicut fundat similitudinis. Et tune 
alternando sequitur processus in infinitum, 

30 cum super relationem similitudinis funda- 
mus dissimilitudinem et super relationem 
dissimilitudinis fundamus similitudinem. 
Et iterum commutando invenimus semper 
novam relationem et processum in infini- 

35 turn. Quod solutio ista non evacuat, quae 
solum loquitur de relatione unius rationis. 


spondetur, quod relationes eiusdem speciei 
habent quidem similitudinem et convenien- 

40 tiam quasi transcendentalem, non relati- 
vam praedicamentalem, ne sequatur pro- 
cessus in infinitum, ut dictum est. A priori 
autem possumus investigare rationem hu- 
ius ex debilitate relationis, quae tarn mini- 

45 mae entitatis est, ut non sufficiat ad fun- 
dandam relationem realem; omne quippe 

9 c. 2. (994 a 1); S. Thorn, lect. 2. (Pa XX. 300 b, 301). 

10 Phil. nat. 1. p. q. 15. art. 1. et 2. 

11 at 103/15-27. 
12 103/17-27. 

13 102/39-48. 


[586a31-b39] 105 

be more perfect than that which is founded, just 
as one accident cannot substand another by sus- 
taining that other, as we said in q. 15, 14 because it 
does not have a more perfect mode of being. Thus, 
since all relations are equal in the mode of being 5 
relative, one cannot be the fundament of another. 
To the confirmation 15 the response is as follows. 
Admitting Euclid's definition of proportionality, it 
remains for Scotus to prove that the similarity or 
equality of proportions in question is a relation w 
distinct from and founded upon the relations of the 
proportions; for it suffices for that equality to be 


Concerning the second difficulty, 16 some have 
said that relations of the first and third type are not 
categorial. But some think that all relations of the 
first type are mind-dependent, because their fun- 
dament supposes something produced by the mind, 20 
namely, a formal or essential unity common to 
many, otherwise a relation of the first type will not 
be founded on unity. 

Others think that relations of the first type are 
transcendental, because unity and number, upon 25 
which these relations are founded, are something 
transcendental and found in every category. For 
there is not any reason why we should say that a 
relation of unity and number is restricted only to 
quantitative number, since a relation of similarity 30 
and difference is found even in the case of pure 

Finally, some exclude relations of the first type 
from the category of mind-independent relation, 
since they think relations of this type are extrin- 35 
sic denominations, both because the multitude of 
relative entities will otherwise be immensely mul- 
tiplied, since the combinations of agreement and 
disagreement are practically infinite; and because 
paternity and filiation in the case of the divine 40 
Persons do not found mind-independent relations 
of similarity and diversity, therefore these rela- 
tions are not of themselves mind-independent; and 
because coexistence or distance bespeak extrin- 
sic denomination, as does the rationale of a right- 45 
hand side in a column. Therefore diversity and 
similarity will likewise be extrinsic denominations. 

fundamentum debet esse perfectius eo, quod 
fundatur, sicut unum accidens non potest 
substare alteri sustentando illud, ut diximus 
q. 15., 14 quia non habet perfectiorem mo- 
dum essendi. Sic cum omnes relationes sint 
aequales in modo essendi relative, una non 
potest esse fundamentum alterius. 

Ad confirmationem 15 respondetur 
admittendo definitionem Euclidis de propor- 
tionalitate. Sed restat probandum Scoto, 
quod ista similitude seu aequalitas propor- 
tionum sit relatio distincta et fundata super 
relationibus proportionum; sufficit enim, 
quod sit transcendentalis ilia aequalitas. 


Circa secundum 16 aliqui dixerunt RELA- 
dicamentales. Sed quidam existimant esse 
rationis, quia fundamentum relationum 
primi generis supponit aliquid rationis, id 
est unitatem f ormalem vel essentialem, com- 
munem multis, alias non poterit fundari 
super unitatem. 

Alii existimant esse transcendentales, 
quia unitas et numerus, super quod fundan- 
tur istae relationes, sunt aliquid transcen- 
dentale et in omni genere inventum. Nee 
enim est aliqua ratio, cur dicamus relatio- 
nem unitatis et numeri solum restringi ad 
numerum quantitativum. Cum etiam in an- 
gelis inveniatur relatio similitudinis et dif- 

Denique alii excludunt RELATIONES PRIMI 
GENERIS a praedicamento relationis, quia pu- 
tant esse denominationes extrinsecas, turn 
quia alias multiplicabitur in immensum mul- 
titude entitatum relativarum, cum sint fere 
infinitae combinationes convenientiae et dis- 
convenientiae; turn quia paternitas et filiatio 
in divinis non fundant relationes reales simi- 
litudinis et diversitatis, ergo ex se istae re- 
lationes reales non sunt; turn quia coexisten- 
tia vel distantia dicunt extrinsecam deno- 
minationem, sicut ratio dextri in columna. 
Ergo similiter diversitas et similitude erunt 
denominationes extrinsecae. 

14 Logica 2. p. q. 15. art. 2. 

15 103/7-11. 
16 102/25-28. 

106 [586b40-587a46] 


Turning to relations of the third type, some exclude 
these from the category of mind-independent relation, 
because they place them among the transcendentals. For 
it seems superfluous that in the case of knowledge rela- 
tive to the knowable there should be [both] a categorial 
relation and a transcendental relation of the sort that re- 
mains in knowledge when the knowable is destroyed. 
Others think that relations of the third type are extrinsic 
denominations, because even though knowledge founds 
a categorial relation to the knowable, nevertheless, that 
relation is not a relation of this third type, but of the first 
or of the second type. On the other hand, Aristotle does 
not count the relation of knowledge to knowable or of 
measured to measure in this third type, but, on the con- 
trary, the relation of the knowable to knowledge and of 
the measure to the measured, as is clear in Book V of the 
Metaphysics, chap. 15; 17 but a relation of measure to 
measured is not a mind-independent relation. 

Nevertheless, it must be asserted, as common opin- 
ion holds, that relations of both the first and the third 
type are categorial, which is the view shared by Aristotle 
and St. Thomas and Scotus. 

And the sole reason is that all the factors required 
for a categorial relation concur in the case of these rela- 
tions, 18 no less than in relations of the second type. 
For in these are found mind-independent correlatives 
mind-independently distinct, namely, those things be- 
tween which there is similarity or diversity, mensur- 
ation and measure. There is also found an existing 
terminus, as I now suppose; for if the existence of the 
terminus is wanting, the categorial relation will perish, 
even as in the case of relations of the second type. 
There is similarly a mind-independent fundament [i.e., 
a fundament which does not depend for its being on 
being known objectively] in relations of the third type, 
indeed, one of dependence in specification upon the 
object, just as in relations of the second type the phys- 
ical foundation of the relations is the dependence of 
effect upon cause; and the fundament is distinct from 
the relation itself of the second type, because, as St. 
Thomas well notes in his Commentary on the Metaphysics 
of Aristotle, Book V, reading 17, 19 the fundament of the 
third type of relation is the commensuration to the 
specifying object, not a proportion or unity, as in the 
first type, or an action and efficiency, as in the second. 
Similarly in relations of the first type, the fundament 
is something mind-independent, not indeed some 

dam excludunt a praedicamento relatio- 
nis, quia reiciunt illas ad transcendentales. 
Videtur enim superfluum, quod in scien- 

5 tia ad scibile detur relatio praedicamentalis 
et transcendentalis, qualis est, quae re- 
manet in scientia destructo scibili. Alii ex- 
istimant esse denominationes extrinsecas, 
quia licet scientia fundet relationem prae- 

10 dicamentalem ad scibile, tamen ilia non est 
relatio huius tertii generis, sed primi vel 
secundi. In hoc autem tertio genere Aris- 
toteles non numerat relationem scientiae ad 
scibile vel mensurati ad mensuram, sed e 

15 converse scibilis ad scientiam et mensurae 
ad mensuratum, ut patet in 5. Metaph. cap. 
15. ; 17 mensurae autem non est relatio rea- 

NIHILOMINUS cum communi sententia 

20 asserendum est utrumque genus relatio- 
num, primum et tertium, esse praedica- 
mentale, ut cum Aristotele et D. Thoma et 
Scoto tenetur communiter. 

ET RATIO UNICA est, quia concurrunt in 

25 istis relationibus omnia, quae ad relationem 
praedicamentalem requiruntur, 18 non mi- 
nus quam in relationibus secundi generis. 
Nam in istis inveniuntur correlativa realia 
realiter distincta, scilicet ilia, inter quae est 

so similitude aut diversitas, mensuratio et 
mensura. Invenitur etiam terminus exis- 
tens, ut nunc suppono; nam si existentia 
termini def iciat, peribit relatio, sicut etiam 
in relationibus secundi generis. Similiter 

35 datur fundamentum reale, in relationibus 
quidem tertii generis dependentiae in spe- 
cificatione ab obiecto, sicut in relationibus 
secundi generis dependentiae effectus a 
causa; et distinctum est fundamentum ab 

40 ipsa relatione secundi generis, quia, ut bene 
notat D. Thomas 5. Metaph. lect. 17., 19 fun- 
damentum tertii generis est commensuratio 
ad obiectum specificans, non proportio seu 
unitas, ut in primo, vel actio et efficientia, 

45 ut in secundo. Similiter in relationibus pri- 
mi generis fundamentum est aliquid reale, 
non quidem unitas aliqua communis exis- 

17 1020 b 30. 

18 Cf . 91/3-20. 

19 Pa XX. 421 a, b. 


[587a46-588a7] 107 

common unity existing in many, but an agreement or 
conformity of the sort that is in distinct subjects, as, 
for example, on the side of physical nature Peter and 
Paul are alike, Peter and a horse are not alike. The ra- 
tionale of the categorial relation, therefore, is found 
no less in relations of the first and third type than in 
relations of the second type. 

You may say: In relations of the first type, the 
rationale of founding, namely, unity or agreement, is 
not found distinct from the subject, as in relations of 
the second type action is distinguished from the power 
to act. But in the first place this is false in the case of 
a relation of accidental similarity. Second, in the case 
of an essential similarity, why must the rationale of 
founding be distinguished from the subject? For there 
is required a mind-independent distinction only be- 
tween the extremes of relations, but why is a mind- 
independent distinction necessary between the subject 
and the rationale of founding? And if it is legitimate 
to argue from divine to created things, one finds there 
a rationale of founding not distinct from the Father, 
namely, generative power, and yet it founds a mind- 
independent relation. 

Nor again does it matter that among these relations 
of the first and of the third type are sometimes found 
transcendental relations, as between knowledge and the 
knowable, and sometimes between similar extremes. For 
in the first place, if this were an obstacle, even relations 
of the second type would be obliterated, because between 
a cause and an effect there is a transcendental relation, 
as, for example, the transcendental relation of a creature 
to God, because an effect respects not only under the ra- 
tionale of a pure terminus but under the rationale of a 
cause. Second, in the case of relations of similarity and 
difference, we see that when the term is destroyed the 
relation of similarity ceases; therefore there was not only 
a transcendental relation, because this relation does not 
perish when the term perishes, but there is also a cate- 
gorial relation. And this appears much more clearly in the 
case of a relation of accidental similarity, which is founded 
on something superadded, but does not transcend. 

To the foundations of the arguments opposed to 
relations of the first type being categorial: 20 To the 
first argument, 21 the response is that these relations 
are not said to be founded on unity according as 
unity bespeaks indivision (since a relation requires 
rather divided and distinct extremes), but on unity 
according as it bespeaks an agreement and conform- 

tens in multis, sed convenientia vel con- 
formitas, qualis est in distinctis subiectis, 
sicut a parte rei Petrus et Paulus conveni- 
unt, Petrus et equus disconveniunt. Nihil 

5 ergo minus invenitur ratio praedicamen- 
talis relationis in istis quam in secundo 

DICES: Non invenitur in relationibus 
primi generis ratio fundandi distincta a 

w subiecto, scilicet unitas seu convenientia, 
sicut in relationibus secundi generis actio 
distinguitur a potentia. Sed imprimis hoc 
est falsum in relatione similitudinis acciden- 
talis. Deinde in similitudine essentiali cur 

15 requiritur, quod ratio fundandi distingu- 
atur a subiecto? Solum enim requiritur 
distinctio realis inter extrema relationum, 
inter subiectum autem et rationem fundan- 
di cur est necessaria? Et si a divinis ad 

20 creata fas est argumentari, ibi invenitur 
ratio fundandi, v. g. potentia generativa in- 
distincta a Patre, et tamen fundat relatio- 
nem realem. 

NEC ITERUM OBSTAT, quod in his aliquan- 

25 do inveniuntur relationes transcendentales, 
ut inter scientiam et scibile, et aliquando in- 
ter extrema similia. Nam imprimis, si hoc 
obstaret, etiam relationes secundi generis 
essent ablegandae, quia inter effectum et 

30 causam datur transcendentalis relatio, ut 
creaturae ad Deum, quia non solum sub ra- 
tione puri termini, sed sub ratione causae 
respicit effectus. Deinde in relationibus simi- 
litudinis et diversitatis videmus, quod de- 

35 structo termino deficit relatio similitudinis; 
ergo non solum erat transcendentalis rela- 
tio, quia haec non perit pereunte termino, 
sed est praedicamentalis. Et multo melius 
id apparet in relatione similitudinis acci- 

40 dentalis, quae fundatur in aliquo superad- 
dito, non autem transcendit. 

AD FUNDAMENTA opposiTA: 20 Ad primum, 21 
contra relationes primi generis, respon- 
detur, quod istae relationes non dicuntur 

45 fundari in unitate, prout unitas dicit indivi- 
sionem, cum potius relatio divisa et distinc- 
ta extrema requirat, sed in unitate, prout 
dicit convenientiam et conformitatem, quae 

20 105/18-47. 

21 105/18-23. 

108 [588a7-bll] 


ity which is in several subjects. A formal unity made 
by the mind and positively undivided, therefore, is not 

To the second argument 22 it is said that the fundament 
of this relation is found materially in all the categories of 
mind-independent being, but formally it is always one 
thing, namely, agreement or unity, in whatever class or 
category it is found. And this argument applies in the 
same way against relations of the second type. For ac- 
tion and reception, cause and effect, are also found in 
diverse categories of mind-independent being; for all 
things are effects of God, many are also causes, at least 
material or formal causes [if not productive ones]. 

To the third argument against admitting that there are 
categorial relations founded on unity and number 23 the 
response is that that multitude of relations 24 in no way 
frightens us into denying that there are such relations; 
for howsoever great, it is finite. Moreover, by holding 
with St. Thomas that one relation is terminated by several 
numerically distinct terms, the multitude of relations 
is sufficiently moderated. Concerning the case of the di- 
vine Persons, 25 we say that there is another reason why 
paternity and filiation do not found mind-independent 
relations of similarity and diversity, namely, because (as 
was said above) mind-independent relations are not 
founded on other relations. But no argument that there 
cannot be mind-independent relations of similarity or 
diversity among created absolute things follows thence. 
Concerning coexistence and distance, 26 1 say that nothing 
prevents their being mind-independent relations just as 
are similarity and difference. Nor is it like the case of a 
right and a left side, which is found physically only in 
an animal in which there is a heart or other organs from 
which the right part draws strength and energies, which 
is not found in a column, but a column is said to be on 
the right denominatively by the juxtaposition of an 

To the arguments raised against relations of the third 
type being categorial: 27 To the first argument 28 the re- 
sponse is that even if there is a transcendental relation, 
a categorial relation is not superfluous; nay rather, a cate- 
gorial relation is frequently founded on a transcendental 
relation, as in the case of a relation to a cause founded 
on an effect. And the transcendental relation too serves a 

in pluribus subiectis est. Non est ergo ex- 
pectanda unitas f ormalis facta per rationem 
et positive indivisa. 

Ad secundum 22 dicitur, quod fundamen- 

5 turn huius relationis materialiter divagatur 
per omnia genera, sed formaliter semper 
est unum, scilicet convenientia seu unitas, 
in quocumque genere seu praedicamento 
inveniatur. Et eodem modo procedit hoc 

w argumentum contra relationes secundi ge- 
neris. Nam etiam actio et passio, causa et 
effectus in diversis praedicamentis reper- 
itur; omnia enim effectus sunt Dei, plura 
etiam sunt causae saltern materiales aut 

15 formales. 

Ad tertium 23 respondetur, quod ilia mul- 
titude relationum 24 nullo modo nos terret, 
ut negemus dari tales relationes; quantum- 
cumque enim grandis, finita est, praeter- 

20 quam quod in sententia D. Thomae ponen- 
tis, unam relationem ad plures terminos 
numero distinctos terminari, satis moderata 
est relationum mulititudo. De relationi- 
bus 25 dicimus esse aliam rationem, quia, ut 

25 supra dictum est, relationes reales non fun- 
dantur in aliis relationibus. Inde tamen non 
fit argumentum, quod in rebus creatis ab- 
solutis non possit dari relatio realis simili- 
tudinis vel diversitatis. De coexistentia et 

30 distantia 26 dico nihil prohibere, quod sint 
relationes reales sicut similitude et diffe- 
rentia. Nee est simile de dextro et sinistro, 
quod solum invenitur realiter in animali, 
in quo est cor vel alia organa, a quibus dex- 

35 tera pars trahit robur et vires, quod in co- 
lumna non invenitur, sed dicitur dextera 
denominative a iuxtapositione animalis. 

Ad ea, quae obiciuntur contra relatio- 
nes tertii generis: 27 Ad primam partem 28 

40 respondetur non esse superfluam relatio- 
nem praedicamentalem, etiamsi detur tran- 
scendentalis, imo plerumque praedicamen- 
talis in transcendentali; fundatur, ut in ef- 
fectu relatio ad causam. Et deservit etiam 

22 105/24-32. 
23 105/33-47. 

24 105/36-39. 

25 105/40-43. 

26 105/44-46. 
27 106/1-18. 
28 106/1-7. 


[588bl2-589a20] 109 

purpose, because even when the terminus is removed and 
destroyed, the transcendental order remains, but not the 
categorial one. 

To the second argument 29 the response is that the 
meaning of the Philosopher's text must be taken from 5 
where he first posited a relation on the part of measur- 
able to measure, saying: 30 "Other relatives are related 
as measurable to measure." Then he gives the example: 
"as the knowable to knowledge, the sensible to sense," 
in order to show that these relations are not reciprocal, w 
a point which he had made more explicitly when he 
was explaining those extremes [namely, the termini of 
relations of the third type] on whose part there is no 
relation, but which are denominated [relative] by other 
extremes [that is, the subjects of the relations] in which 15 
there are true relations, not extrinsic denominations. 

The reason why the relations of this third type are not 
reciprocal is given by St. Thomas in the Summa theologica, 
I, q. 13, art. 7, and in his Disputed Questions on the Power 
of God, q. 7, art. 10. 31 It is that the extremes are not of 20 
the same order, but one depends upon and is subordina- 
ted to the other, not conversely, because, as is plain, one 
is measure, the other measurable, one perfecting, the other 
perfectible; but something perfecting as perfecting does 
not depend on the perfectible, but the reverse. Whence 25 
they are not ordered reciprocally, but only the one is [cate- 
gorially] ordered to the other. And thus God is indepen- 
dent of the order of creatures, the sensible is independent 
of sense, the intelligible is independent of understand- 
ing, because all these act or specify without change of 
themselves, and so they belong to another order, that is 
to say, they are outside or independent of the change of 
their correlatives, as they do not depend on one another 
nor are they reciprocally referred. 


Authors preoccupy themselves with the third point, 32 
and some anxiously enough. But the matter does not seem 
to me of great moment. All agree that an action is required 
at least as a condition, and also that a proximate and radical 
principle of action is required. But Scotus, in his Commen- 
tary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book IV, dist. 6, q. 
10, and in his Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, 
Book V, chap. 14, says that since the action passes and 
the relation endures, the action cannot be the funda- 
ment of the relation, because when a fundament is re- 45 
moved, the relation which adheres to or is identified 




transcendentalis, quia adhuc remoto et de- 
structo termino manet transcendentalis 
ordo, non praedicamentalis. 

Ad secundam partem 29 respondetur sen- 
sum Philosophi ex littera desumi, ubi prius 
posuit relationem ex parte mensurabilis ad 
mensuram dicens: 30 Alia relativa se habent 
ut mensurabile ad mensuram. Deinde sub- 
dit exemplum, ut scibile ad scientiam, sen- 
sibile ad sensum, ut ostenderet has rela- 
tiones mutuas non esse, quod expressius 
fiebat explicando ilia extrema, ex parte quo- 
rum relatio non datur, sed ab altero extreme 
denominantur, in quo relationes verae sunt, 
non denominationes extrinsecae. 

Cur autem relationes istius ter- 
tii generis mutuae non sint, ratio- 
nem reddit D. Thomas 1. p. q. 13. art. 7. 
et q. 7. de Potentia art. 10., 31 quia extrema 
non sunt eiusdem ordinis, sed unum de- 
pendet et subordinatur alteri, non e conver- 
se, quia videlicet unum est mensura, 
alterum mensurabile, unum perficiens, 
alterum perfectibile; perficiens autem ut per- 
ficiens non pendet a perfectibili, sed e con- 
verso. Unde non mutuo ordinantur, sed 
unum tantum ordinatur ad aliud. Et sic 
Deus est extra ordinem creaturae, sensibile 
extra sensum, intelligibile extra intellecrum, 
quia haec omnia sine mutatione sui agunt 
aut specificant, et ita sunt extra ordinem, id 
est extra mutationem suorum correla- 
tivorum, ut non mutuo pendeant nee re- 


Circa tertium punctum 32 decertant AUC- 
TORES, et aliqui satis anxie. Mihi vero vide- 
tur res non tanti momenti. Conveniunt 
omnes requiri actionem saltern ut condi- 
tionem, requiri etiam principium actionis 
proximum et radicale. Sed Scotus in 4. 
dist. 6. q. 10. et 5. Metaph. cap. 14. inquit, 
quod cum actio transeat et relatio duret, 
non potest actio esse fundamentum rela- 
tionis, quia sublato fundamento concidit 
relatio, quae ei adhaeret vel identificatur. 

29 106/8-18. 

30 1020 b 30. 

31 Pa VIII. 165 a, b. 
32 102/28-34. 

110 [589a20-b31] 


with it is destroyed. Action is required therefore for 
the founding of a relation as a condition in the order 
of becoming, [but] not for keeping the relation in 
being as is the fundament. 

Others, such as Suarez in his Metaphysical 
Disputations, disp. 47, sect. 12, n. 5, the better to pro- 
vide for the conservation of the relation, say that it 
is founded neither on the action nor on the prox- 
imate power, but on the radical or root power, that 
is, on the substance itself, because a father has an 
actual relation of paternity not only after the action 
passes, but even if the power of generating is lost; 
therefore this relation cannot be founded on the 
proximate power. For if the power itself were the 
fundament, the very fact of the power's being de- 
stroyed would put an end to the relation; for when 
the fundament is removed, a relation does not re- 
main. This argument recommends itself to those 
who distinguish proximate from root powers; for 
they are bound to say that, if a relation is founded 
on a power, and if when the fundament passes the 
relation does not remain, then, when the proximate 
power is destroyed, the relation of an action does 
not remain if it was founded on that power; whence 
if it does remain, it must be founded on the root 
power. But Scotus, who does not distinguish prox- 
imate from root powers, consequently does not ad- 
mit that a proximate power is lost unless the sub- 
stance is destroyed, although the power's action 
would be blocked if the organ upon which it de- 
pends were destroyed. 

Nevertheless, THE OPINION OF ST. THOMAS holds 
that these relations of the second type are founded 
upon action and reception as on the proper funda- 
ment, and not only as a requisite condition. For ac- 
tion and reception are required generally as a con- 
dition for any and every relation, because, as St. 
Thomas says in his Commentary on the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, Book I, dist. 9, 33 a new relation can- 
not arise in anything mind-independently except 
through a movement, specifically, one mediately 
terminated at the very relation, immediately at the 
fundament or terminus. And we do not doubt that 
some relations are founded immediately upon an ac- 
tive power itself, as a power of heating respects 
something able to be heated; for the power has this 
relation antecedently to an action, since indeed this 
relation is not to an effect, but to an object able to 
be affected insofar as it is an object of that power, 

Requiritur ergo actio ad fundandam rela- 
tionem quasi in fieri ut conditio, non ad 
conservandum in esse tamquam funda- 

5 Alii, ut P. Suarez disp. 47. Metaph. 

sect. 12. n. 5., ut melius provideant con- 
servationi relationis, dicunt earn neque in 
actione neque in potentia proxima fundari, 
sed in radicali, id est in ipsa substantia, quia 

w pater relationem paternitatis in actu habet, 
non solum postquam transit actio, sed 
etiam si potentia generandi amittatur; ergo 
non potest relatio ista fundari in potentia 
proxima. Si enim ipsa esset fundamentum, 

is hoc ipso quod destrueretur, desineret esse 
relatio; fundamento enim sublato relatio 
non manet. Quod argumentum urget in 
sententia distinguentium potentias prpx- 
imas a radicalibus; tenentur enim dicere, 

20 quod si relatio fundatur in potentia et trans- 
eunte fundamento non manet relatio, quod 
destructa potentia proxima relatio actionis 
non manet, si in ilia fundatur, unde si 
manet, fundari debet in radicali potentia. 

25 Sed Scotus, qui non distinguit potentias 
proximas a radicalibus, consequenter non 
admittit, quod tollatur potentia proxima 
nisi destructa substantia, licet possit im- 
pediri, ne agat, si destruatur organum, a 

30 quo potentia dependet. 

NIHILOMINUS sententia D. Thomae 
tenet relationes istas secundi generis 
fundari supra actionem et passionem 
tamquam supra fundamentum proprium, 

35 et non solum tamquam conditionem re- 
quisitam. Hoc enim generaliter requiritur 
ad omnem relationem, quia, ut dicit D. 
Thomas in 1. dist. 9. in exposit. litterae, 33 
non potest relatio nova nasci realiter in 

40 aliquo nisi per motum, scilicet mediate 
terminatum ad ipsam relationem, im- 
mediate ad fundamentum vel terminum. 
Et non dubitamus aliquas relationes fun- 
dari immediate super ipsam potentiam 

45 activam, sicut calefactivum respicit 
calef actibile; hoc enim antecedenter habet 
ad actionem, siquidem ista relatio non est 
ad effectum, sed ad obiectum factibile, in 
quantum obiectum est illius potentiae, 

33 Pa VI. 88 b. 


[589b31-590a41] 111 

and is therefore reduced to a relation of the third type 
rather [than of the second type], because it is in the 
mode of a commensuration, as is gathered from St. 
Thomas's Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, 
Book V, reading 17. 34 

But when speaking of a relation of the second type, 
because it is not to the affectable, but to the affected 
or effect, St. Thomas always teaches that it is founded 
upon action or reception, as is clear in the Summa 
theologica, I, q. 28, art. 4, the Summa of the Whole Logic 
of Aristotle, chap. 4 of the Tractate on the category of 
relation, 35 and the Summa contra gentiles, Book IV, 
chap. 24. But more explicitly and better in the Com- 
mentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book III, dist. 
8, q. 1, art. S, 36 where, after having said that these rela- 
tions are founded on action and reception, St. Thomas 
adds: "It must likewise be considered that certain rela- 
tions do not arise from acts according as they are in 
act, but rather according as they were, as, for exam- 
ple, someone is called a father after a pregnancy follows 
from an act of sexual intercourse, and such relations 
are founded upon that which is left in the agent from 
the action, whether it be a disposition or a habit or 
some right and power or whatever else is of this kind." 
From these words it is clear that actions are not said 
to found relations according as the actions are produc- 
ing but according as they have in fact produced, 37 and 
therefore actions leave on the side of the effect the pro- 
duction of that effect, indeed, but on the side of the 
cause they leave some determination to the past ef- 
fect, whether through habit or through disposition or 
right or anything of the kind. For that there is such 
a determination or change left in the cause, even when 
the action is over, is clear from the fact that a created 
cause, when its action is over and an effect produced, 
respects this effect otherwise than it had formerly 
respected it. For formerly it had respected that effect 
as something producible by itself; but after it has pro- 
duced, it no longer respects that effect as producible 
by itself, whether this be extrinsically or intrinsically, 
because a created cause cannot produce the numerically 
same effect twice. Therefore that relation or transcend- 
ing order to the effect formerly possible for itself, is dif- 
ferent from the order to the effect no longer so possi- 
ble, the reason for which fact is that the cause respects 
that [latter] effect as produced, and so some determina- 

ideoque potius reducitur ad relationem ter- 
tii generis, quia est per modum commen- 
surationis, ut ex D. Thoma colligitur 5. 
Metaph. lect. 17. 34 

5 Loquendo autem de relatione secundi 

generis, quia non est ad factibile, sed ad 
factum seu effectum, semper docet D. 
Thomas fundari supra actionem vel pas- 
sionem, ut patet 1. p. q. 28. art. 4. et opusc. 

w 48. tract, de Relatione cap. 4. 35 et 4. Con- 
tra Gent. cap. 24. Sed expressius et melius 
in 3. dist. 8. q. 1. art. 5., 36 ubi postquam 
dixit fundari relationes istas in actione et 
passione, subdit: Item considerandum est, 

25 quod quaedam relationes non innascuntur 
ex actibus, secundum quod sunt in actu, 
sed magis secundum quod fuerunt, sicut 
aliquis dicitur pater, postquam ex actione 
est effectus consecutus, et tales relationes 

20 fundantur super id, quod in agente ex ac- 
tione relinquitur, sive sit dispositio sive 
habitus sive aliquod ius et potestas vel 
quidquid aliud est huiusmodi. Ex quibus 
verbis constat, quod actiones non dicuntur 

25 fundare relationes, secundum quod sunt in 
fieri, sed secundum quod in facto esse, 37 
atque adeo relinquunt ex parte quidem ef- 
fectus productionem illius, ex parte vero 
causae determinationem aliquam ad effec- 

30 turn praeteritum, sive per habitum sive per 
dispositionem aut ius vel aliquid simile. 
Quod enim talis determinatio seu mutatio 
detur in causa, etiam transacta actione, 
manifestum relinquitur, quia causa creata 

35 transacta actione et effectu producto aliter 
respicit hunc effectum quam antea respici- 
ebat. Antea enim respiciebat ilium ut facti- 
bilem a se; postquam autem produxit, non 
amplius respicit ilium ut factibilem a se, 

40 sive hoc sit ab extrinseco sive ab intrinseco, 
quia causa creata non potest reproducere 
eundem numero effectum. Variatur ergo 
relatio ilia seu ordo transcendens ad effec- 
tum antea sibi possibilem, iam sibi non 

45 possibilem, quod ideo est, quia respicit il- 
ium ut factum, et sic relinquitur deter- 

34 Pa XX. 421 a, b. 

35 Summa tot. Log. Arist. (Pa XVII. 74). 

36 Pa VII. 103 a. 

37 i.e., actions found relations not as the actions pertain to the order of becoming but as 
they are absorbed into the order of being. 

112 [590a41-b32] 


tion or change or ordination to the produced effect is 
left in the cause, by reason of which it is ordered to 
that effect as to something produced and no longer as 
to something possible, which is not the case for God, 
who, even after he has produced an effect once, is able 
to produce that selfsame effect again a second time. 
We have therefore the explanation of how a relation 
of the second type is founded when the action is over, 
to wit, it is not founded upon the bare power, but on 
the power as determined by the action, even when the 
action itself is over, and so it is truly founded upon 
the action, not as on a becoming, but on the determina- 
tion it leaves in the cause. 

Whence the answer to the foundation of the op- 
posed argument 38 is that when a fundament is re- 
moved a relation is removed. But the fundament of 
the relation in question is not a radical or proximate 
principle considered without qualification; for so con- 
sidered, a principle bespeaks only the relation of some- 
thing able to act, not of something acting, for one who 
is able to procreate is not called a father, but one who 
procreates. Whence these relations of the second type 
must have for the specifying fundament, and not only 
for a necessary condition, an action as such and not 
only the power. For the specific rationale of these rela- 
tions is not according to some ability to act, but accord- 
ing to action. But that from which the specification is 
taken functions as the fundament and not as a condi- 
tion; yet a relation of this second type is not founded 
on an action inasmuch as the action briefly endures 
in act, but inasmuch as it leaves its determination in 
the power, not only proximate, but also radical; which 
determination is not removed as long as the radical or 
root principle endures, even if the action passes or the 
proximate power is destroyed. 

minatio aliqua seu immutatio aut ordinatio 
in causa ad effectum productum, ratione 
cuius ordinatur ad ilium ut ad factum et 
non amplius ut possibilem, quod non est 

5 in Deo, qui etiam postquam produxit effec- 
tum, potest reproducere. Habemus ergo 
transacta actione quomodo fundetur rela- 
tio, scilicet non super nuda potentia, sed 
determinata ab actione, etiam actione ipsa 

w transacta, et sic vere super actione funda- 
tur, non ut in fieri, sed ut in sua determi- 
natione manet in causa. 

respondetur, quod remoto fundamento 

is removetur relatio. Sed fundamentum in 
hac relatione non est radicale vel proximum 
principium nude sumptum; sic enim solum 
dicit relationem potentis agere, non agen- 
tis, neque enim dicitur pater, qui potest 

20 generare, sed qui genera vit. Unde rela- 
tiones istae secundi generis debent habere 
pro fundamento specificante, et non solum 
pro conditione requisita, ipsam actionem 
et non solum potentiam. Species enim 

25 harum relationum non est secundum posse 
agere, sed secundum agere. Illud autem, 
a quo sumitur specificatio, ut fundamen- 
tum se habet et non ut conditio, nee tamen 
fundatur in actione, quatenus brevi durat 

30 in actu, sed quatenus determinationem sui 
derelinquit in potentia, non solum prox- 
ima, sed etiam radicali; quae determinatio 
non tollitur, quamdiu radicale principium 
durat, etiamsi actio transeat vel potentia 

35 proxima destruatur. 

38 109/45-110/1, 110/14-16, 110/21-22. 

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Panels 1-3 are the title page and "Word to the Reader" (translated pp. 5-6) from the second edi- 
tion (1634) of the lost exemplar of the 1631 First Part of the Ars Logica, announcing the Treatise 
on Signs as something new in philosophy. Discussion p. 7 above, pp, 405-406, 446 esp. n. 75 
below. Panel 4 is the title page from the 1635 Douai edition, thought by the publisher to be the 
second, but in fact the third, edition of this part. Discussion pp. 405-406, esp. note 12, p. 446 note 
75, below. Photographs from 1634 edition courtesy of Norma Elia Cantii; from 1635, courtesy of 
Christiane Pierard. 

Liber Primus 


Book I 


* In the original Latin: "Quaestio XXI. De Signo Secundum Be." Logica 2. p.: "Question 21. 
Concerning the Sign in Its Proper Being." 



Whether a Sign Is in the Order of Relation 


Utrum Signum Sit in Genere Relationis 

The present discussion turns on the definition of 
sign given in the first of the Summulae books, chap. 
2, 2 namely, that a sign is "that which represents some- 
thing other than itself to a knowing power." We have 
settled on a definition formulated in this general way, 
so as to include all the kinds of signs, both formal and 
instrumental. For the usual definition accepted as a 
matter of course by the theologians in their commen- 
taries on the opening of Book IV of The Sentences of Peter 
Lombard, 3 the one taken from Augustine 4 "A sign is 
something which, besides the impressions that it con- 
veys to sense, makes something come into cognition" 
applies only to the instrumental sign. 

In our definition, therefore, two things concur to 
constitute the general rationale of a sign. The first is 
the rationale of something manifestative or represen- 
tative. The second is an order to another, specifically, 
on the one hand, to the thing which is represented 
(which must be other than the sign, for nothing is a 
sign of itself nor signifies itself), and, on the other hand, 
to the cognitive power to which the sign manifests and 
represents the thing distinct from itself. 

To be sure, something manifestative as such need 
not bespeak a relation, both because the manifestative 

SUPPONENDA EST defmitio signi, quae 
lib. 1. Summul. cap. 2. 2 tradita est, scilicet 
quod signum est id, quod repraesentat 
aliud a se potentiae cognoscenti. Quam 

5 definitionem ita communiter tradidimus, ut 
complecteremur omnia signorum genera, 
et formale et instrumentale. Nam vulgaris 
definitio, quae circumferri solet apud theo- 
logos in initio 4. Sentent. 3 ex Augustino 4 : 

w Signum est, quod praeter species, quas in- 
gerit sensui, aliquid facit in cognitionem 
venire, instrumentali signo solum con- 

In nostra ergo definitione ad rationem 

is signi in communi duo concurrunt: Primum 
est ratio manifestativi seu repraesenta- 
tivi. Secundum ordo ad alterum, scilicet 
ad rem, quae repraesentatur, quae debet 
esse diversa a signo, nihil enim est signum 

20 sui nee significat se, et ad potentiam, cui 
manifestat et repraesentat rem a se dis- 

Et quidem manifestativum ut sic constat 
non dicere relationem, turn quia potest sal- 

1 In the original Latin: "Articulus Primus." Each "Question" of each "Book" of the Treatise 
on Signs is an "Articulus" in the original Latin. Accordingly, since the change is noted here 
as a systematic affair, it will not be further noted at the head of each "Question." See the "Editor- 
ial Afterword," Section III. A. 

2 Logica 1. p. lib. 1. c. 2., 25/12-13 above (Reiser's text here reads incorrectly: "cap. 4."). 

3 dist. 1. q. 1. art. 1. quaestiunc. 2. (Pa VII. 454 a). 

4 De doctrina Christiana II. c. 1. n. 1. (Migne P.L. XXXIV. 35). 


[646a41-b25] 117 

can be verified in an order to itself and without respect to 
another as when light manifests itself, when an object re- 
presents itself in perception, etc. and because one thing 
can manifest another without a dependence on that other, 
but rather through a dependence of the other on the one 
manifesting, as, for example, principles manifest conclu- 
sions, light manifests colors, or the vision of God manifests 
creatures, as the more expert theologians explain the Summa 
theologica, I, qq. 12 and 14. In such cases, an illustration and 
manifestation of another takes place without a dependence 
upon and subordination to the thing manifested. 

But indeed the manif estative element of a sign is found 
both with an order to another, because nothing signifies it- 
self, although something can represent itself, and with a de- 
pendence on that other to which it is ordered, because a sign 
is always less than what it signifies and is dependent thereon 
as on a measure. 5 

We ask therefore whether this formal rationale of a sign 
consists, primarily and essentially, in a relation according 
to the way it has being (an ontological relation) or in a rela- 
tion according to the way being must be expressed in dis- 
course (a transcendental relation), that is to say, 6 in something 
subjective which founds an ontological relation. 

What a relation is according to the way being must be ex- 
pressed in discourse and according to the way it has being, 
what a transcendental relation is and what a categorial rela- 
tion is, has been explained in our Second Preamble 7 con- 
cerning Relation. 8 And we speak here of ontological rela- 

vari in ordine ad se et sine respectu ad 
alterum, ut quando lux manif estat seip- 
sam, quando obiectum repraesentat se, 
ut videatur, etc.; turn quia potest aliquid 

5 manifestare alterum sine dependentia 
ab ipso, sed potius per dependentiam 
alterius a se, sicut principia manifestant 
conclusiones, lux colores, Deus visus 
creaturas, ut peritiores theologi decent 

w 1. p. q. 12. et 14. In quibus illustratio 
et manifestatio alterius sine dependentia 
et subordinatione ad rem manifestatam 

At vero manifestativum signi in- 

15 venitur et cum ordine ad alterum, quia 
nihil seipsum significat, licet se reprae- 
sentare possit, et cum dependentia, quia 
signum semper est minus significato et 
ab ipso ut a mensura dependens. 5 

20 QUAERIMUS ERGO, an formalis ista 
ratio signi consistat in relatione secun- 
dum esse prirno et per se, an in relatione 
secundum dici seu 6 in aliquo absolute, 
quod fundet talem relationem. 

25 Quid sit autem relatio secundum dici 
et secundum esse, relatio transcenden- 
talis et praedicamentalis, dictum est in 
Praeambulo Secundo 7 de Relatione. 8 Et 

5 The systematic contrast between representation and signification (or between the sign as a 
representation and the sign as such, the representative [or manifestative] and the significative 
aspects of a sign), which runs throughout the Treatise, is most fully explained at 122/17-123/25 
and 132/16-46. 

6 Seu in classical Latin usage introduces an alternative condition or a disjunction. This has 
led even careful scholars (e.g., Yves R. Simon, John J. Glanville, and G. Donald Hollenhorst, 
The Material Logic of John of St. Thomas [Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1955], p. 389) 
into a most serious misreading of Poinsot at this point most serious, because it involves as 
a consequence nothing less than total misunderstanding of the point of departure for the doctrine 
of signs. Their rendering of this passage reads: "We propose to determine whether the formal 
notion of the sign consists, primarily and essentially, (a) in a relation according to existence or 
(b) in a relation according to expression or (c) in a thing absolute which would ground the rela- 
tion that the sign implies." This is not a correct reading of the text. 

What Poinsot envisages here, as Ralph Powell has shown (see my "What's in a Name?" 
Semiotica 22:1-2 [1978], 159-163, esp. note 8, pp. 175-176), and as is clear from the first two Articles 
of the Second Preamble above, are not three alternatives for the being proper to signs, but only 
two. The seu here, thus, expresses neither an alternative condition nor a disjunction, but an 
explication only. Poinsot is using "seu" not in the classical but rather in line with the novel medieval 
sense cited by Du Cange, Glossarium Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis (orig. publ. 1883-1887; Graz, 
Austria: Akademische Druck u. Verlagsanstalt, 1954, VII: 461: "Seu, pro Et, conjunctiva. Oc- 
currit passim" (see also the entry for sive, p. 499). In other words, the seu here adds something 
further but not opposed to the preceding secundum dici, namely, its explication aliis verbis. Secun- 
dum esse and secundum dici are exclusive and exhaustive secundum rem, so that the seu here adds 
to secundum dici something secundum verba tantuma verbal alternative that is conceptually equivalent. 
Note the parallel construction in Poinsot's text shortly below at 118/21-24; and see the Second 
Preamble, Article 1, note 16, p. 86 above, and Article 2, 89/21-91/29, esp. 90/15-37. 

7 In the original Latin: "q. 17." 

8 Articles 1 and 2. 

118 [646b26-647al6] 


tion of relation according to the way it has being not 
of categorial relation, because we are discussing the 
sign in general, as it includes equally the natural and the 
social sign, in which general discussion even the signs 
which are mental artifacts 9 namely, stipulated signs 
as such are involved. And for this reason, the rationale 
common to signs cannot be that of a categorial being, 
nor a categorial relation, 10 although it could be an on- 
tological relation, according to the point made by St. 
Thomas in the Summa theologica, I, q. 28, art. 1, and ex- 
plained in our Preamble 11 on Relation to wit, that only 
in the case of these things which exist toward another 
is found some mind-independent relation and some 
mind-dependent relation, 12 which latter relation plainly 
is not categorial, but is called a relation according to the 
way relation has being (an ontological relation), because 
it is purely a relation and does not import anything 

Some authors think that the general rationale of a sign 
does not consist in a respect according to the way it has 
being toward a thing signified and toward a power, but 
in a respect according to the way being must be express- 
ed in discourse, that is to say, in something absolute 
founding that ontological relation. And they assign for 
the rationale of a sign this: to be something leading cog- 
nition to another. That this is the fundament of the sign 
seems to follow from St. Thomas's remark in Book IV, 
dist. 4, q. 1, art. 1, of his Commentary on the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, 13 where he says that the rationale of a sign 
in the sacramental character is founded in something, 
because a sign, besides the impressions which it conveys 
to sense, makes known something other. A sign, there- 
fore, does not formally consist in a relation, but in the 

loquimur hie de relatione secundum 
esse, non de relatione praedicamentali, 
qui loquimur de signo in communi, pro- 
ut includit tarn signum naturale quam ad 

5 placitum, in quo involvitur etiam sig- 
num, quod est aliquid rationis, 9 scilicet 
signum ad placitum. Et ideo praedica- 
mentale ens esse non potest nee relatio 
praedicamentalis, 10 licet possit esse rela- 

20 tio secundum esse iuxta doctrinam D. 
Thomae 1. p. q. 28. art. 1. explicatam [in] 
eodem Praeambulo, 11 quod solum in 
his, quae sunt ad aliquid, invenitur ali- 
qua relatio realis et aliqua rationis, 12 

is quae relatio manifestum est, quod non 
sit praedicamentalis, sed vocatur relatio 
secundum esse, quia pure relatio est et 
non aliquid absolutum importat. 

Igitur ALIQUI AUCTORES existimant ra- 

20 tionem signi in communi non consistere 
in respectu secundum esse ad rem signi- 
ficatam et ad potentiam, sed in respec- 
tu secundum dici seu in aliquo absolute 
fundante illam relationem. Et assignant 

25 pro ratione signi hoc, quod est esse duc- 
tivum cognitionis ad aliud. Hoc enim 
esse fundamentum signi videtur deduci 
ex D. Thoma in 4. dist. 4. q. 1. art. I. 13 
dicente, quod ratio signi in charactere 

30 fundatur in aliquo, quia signum praeter 
species, quas ingerit sensibus, aliquid 
aliud facit in cognitionem venire. Non 
ergo signum formaliter in relatione con- 

9 i.e., which are mind-dependent beings. 

10 See Logica 2. p. q. 14. art. 1., "Quid sit praedicamentum et quid requiratur ut aliquid sit in 
praedicamento" ("What a category is and what are the conditions for anything's belonging to 
a category"), Reiser ed., 500b36-501a2: "Et quia praedicamentorum distinctio ad hoc introducta est, 
ut diversarum naturarum ordines et classes proponerentur, ad quae omnia, quae naturam aliquam partici- 
pant, reducerentur, ideo imprimis secludendum est ab omni praedicamento ens rationis, quia non habet 
naturam neque entitatem veram, sed fictam, ideoque neque ad praedicamentum verum, sed fictum reici 
debet. Unde D. Thomas q. 7. de Potentia art. 9. ionium res extra animam dicit pertinere ad praedicamen- 
ta." "Since the distinction of the categories was introduced for this, that the orders and classes 
of diverse natures might be set forth, to which all the things that participate some nature might 
be reduced, the very first thing to be excluded from every category is mind-dependent being, 
for being that depends for its existence on being cognized (mind-dependent being) has not a 
nature nor a true entity, but a constructed one, and therefore must be relegated not to a true 
category, but to a constructed one. Whence St. Thomas says (in q. 7, art. 9 of his Disputed Ques- 
tions on the Power of God) that only a thing independent of the mind pertains to the categories." 
See above, Second Preamble, Article 1, note 16, p. 86. 

11 In the original Latin: "eadem q. 17." 

12 See the Second Preamble, Article 2, esp. 93/17-96/36, but also 89/21-91/28. See further the 
First Preamble, Article 1, 51/37-52/6, 53/32-45, Article 2, 60/7-44, Article 3, 70/24-71/19. 

13 Pa VII. 506 a. 


[647al6-b26] 119 

fundament of a relation. And this leading to another 
to be known is nothing else than the representative or 
manifestative rationale itself, not, indeed, in its entire 
latitude, as including self-representation, but as it is 
restricted to being manifestative of another. This indeed 
respects a power in the way an object does, and in the 
same order and line as an object; but an object does not 
consist in a categorial relation to a power, nor in a depen- 
dence on that power. 

My own answer to the question before us is this: the 
rationale of a sign formally speaking does not consist 
in a relation according to the way being must be ex- 
pressed in discourse [a transcendental relation], but in 
a relation according to the way relation has being [an 
ontological relation]. 

I have said "formally speaking," because material- 
ly and presuppositively the sign bespeaks the rationale 
of something manifestative or representative of another, 
which doubtless does not imply only a relation accord- 
ing to the way relation has being, as we will show short- 
ly. Formally, however, the rationale of a sign does not 
bespeak the mere rationale of something representative 
of another, since it is well known that many things 
represent or manifest another, and not in the mode 
of a sign, as, for example, God represents creatures, and 
every cause an effect, and principles manifest conclu- 
sions, and light manifests colors: yet these do not have 
the rationale of a sign. Therefore, to represent another 
is indeed required for a sign, but a sign does not con- 
sist in this alone; for a sign adds something beyond re- 
presenting, and formally bespeaks representing another de- 
ficiently or dependency upon the very thing signified, and 
by substituting in the capacity of that thing. And thus a 
sign respects a significate not as something purely self- 
manifested and self-illuminated, but as the principal 
knowable and the measure of the sign, something in 
whose place the sign is surrogated and whose viceger- 
ent the sign is in bringing that knowable thing to a 
cognitive power. 

We add in conclusion that the rationale of a sign con- 
sists in a relation according to the way relation has being, 
prescinding now from the question whether that on- 
tological relation is mind-independent (physical) or 
mind-dependent (objective only); for we take this up 
in the following question. And thus we employ a desig- 
nation [ontological] common to both kinds of relation, 
and do not deal with only the mind-independent or the 
mind-dependent relation determinately. 

So explained, the conclusion is drawn initially FROM 
THE TEACHING OF ST. THOMAS. For St. Thomas express- 
ly posits that a sign is an instance of a relation founded 

sistit, sed in fundamento relationis. Et hoc 
ductivum ad alterum cognoscendum ni- 
hil aliud est, quam ipsa ratio repraesen- 
tativi seu manifestativi, non quidem in 

5 tota sua latitudine, ut etiam comprehendit 
repraesentare se, sed prout restringitur ad 
manifestativum alterius, quod quidem 
respicit potentiam sicut obiectum, et in 
eodem ordine et linea, qua obiectum; ob- 

w iectum autem non consistit in relatione 
praedicamentali ad potentiam nee in de- 
pendentia ab ilia. 

ni formaliter loquendo non consistit in 

relatione secundum did, sed secundum 

Dixi ,, formaliter loquendo", quia ma- 
terialiter et praesuppositive dicit rationem 
manifestativi seu repraesentativi alterius, 

20 quod sine dubio non importat solam rela- 
tionem secundum esse, ut statim ostende- 
mus. Formaliter autem ratio signi non 
dicit solam rationem repraesentativi alter- 
ius, cum constet multa repraesentare aliud 

25 seu manifestare, et non per modum signi, 
sicut Deus repraesentat creaturas, et om- 
nis causa effectus, et principia manifes- 
tant conclusiones, et lux colores; nee 
tamen habent rationem signi. Igitur re- 

30 praesentare aliud requiritur quidem ad 
signum, sed non in hoc solo consistit; ad- 
dit autem supra repraesentare, et forma- 
liter dicit repraesentare aliud de- 
ficienter vel dependenter ab ipsa 

35 re significata, et quasi vice illius 
substituendo. Etita respicit signif ica- 
tum non ut pure manifestatum et illumi- 
natum a se, sed ut principale cognoscibile 
et mensuram sui, cuius loco subrogatur 

40 et cuius vices gerit in deducendo ad po- 

Addimus in conclusione consistere in 
relatione secundum esse, abstrahendo 
nunc an sit relatio realis vel rationis; de 

45 hoc enim art. seq. agemus. Et ita utimur 
vocabulo communi utrique relationi, et 
non solum agimus de relatione reali vel 
rationis determinate. 

Sic explicata conclusio deducitur pri- 

Thomas expresse ponit, quod signum est 

120 [647b26-648a27] 


on something other. But a relation founded on something 
other is a relation according to the way it has being, and, 
if it is physical, belongs to the category of a mind- 
independent being-toward something. Therefore, a sign 
consists in a relation according to the way it has being, 
an ontological relation. 

The consequence is valid. The minor premise is taken 
from Book IV of St. Thomas's Commentary on the Sentences 
Written for Annibald, dist. 4, q. 1, art. I, 14 where he says 
that "the nature of relation is to be founded always on 
some other kind of being." Therefore, relation founded 
on something other is condistinguished from the other 
kinds of being on which it can be founded, and conse- 
quently it is distinguished from a relation transcenden- 
tal and according to the way being must be expressed 
in discourse, because these relations are not distinguished 
from the other kinds of being, as was shown in our 
Preamble 15 on Relation. 16 For transcendental relations are 
not pure respects, but absolute entities [intrinsically] 
ordered or dependent with regard to another, as we have 
proved more at length in our Preamble 17 on Relation. 18 
Therefore a relation founded on some other kind of 
being is always a relation according to the way rela- 
tion has being, and if it is mind-independent, it will 
be categorial. 

The major premise, on the other hand, is established 
explicitly by St. Thomas himself, both in the work cited 
just above, and in his Commentary on the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, Book IV, dist. 4, q. 1, art. I, 19 and again 
in the Summa theologica, III, q. 63, art. 2, reply to obj. 
3, where, having given the argument: the sign is an 
instance of relation, therefore the sacramental character 
is an instance of relation, since a sacrament is a sign; 
he responds that sign implies a relation founded on 
something, and since the sign-relation of the sacramen- 
tal character cannot be founded immediately on the 
essence of the soul, it must be founded on some super- 
added quality, and the sacramental character consists 
in this quality antecedently to the relation of sign. St. 
Thomas therefore is of the view that a sign-relation is 
a relation founded on something other. And if it were 
only a relation according to the way being must be ex- 
pressed in discourse, that is, a transcendental relation, 
he would not deny that the sacramental character con- 
sists in such a relation, because a quality can well be 

in genere relationis fundatae in aliquo 
alio. Sed relatio fundata in aliquo alio est 
relatio secundum esse et de praedica- 
mento ad aliquid, si realis sit. Ergo 

5 signum consistit in relatione secundum 

Consequentia est legitima. Et mi- 
nor sumitur ex doctrina D. Thomae in 
4. ad Annibaldum dist. 4. quest, unica, 

w art. I. 14 dicente, quod natura relationis 
est, ut semper fundetur in aliquo alio 
genere entis. Ergo relatio fundata in ali- 
quo alio condistinguitur ab aliis gene- 
ribus entis, in quibus potest fundari, et 

is consequenter distinguitur a relatione 
transcendentali et secundum dici, quia 
istae relationes non distinguuntur ab aliis 
generibus entis, ut in Praeambulo 15 de 
Relatione ostensum est. 16 Nee enim sunt 

20 puri respectus, sed entitates absolutae 
circa aliud ordinatae vel dependentes, ut 
latius probavimus in Praeambulo nostro 17 
de Relatione. 18 Ergo relatio fundata in 
aliquo alio genere entis semper est relatio 

25 secundum esse, et si sit realis, erit prae- 

M a i o r vero probatur aperte ex ipso 
D. Thoma, turn in loco nuper cit., turn 
in 4. dist. 4. q. 1. art. I. 19 et 3. p. q. 63. 

30 art. 2. ad 3., ubi cum possuisset argu- 
mentum, quod signum est in genere re- 
lationis, ergo character est in genere rela- 
tionis, cum sit signum, respondet, quod 
signum importat relationem fundatam in 

35 aliquo, et cum non possit relatio signi 
characteris fundari immediate in essentia 
animae, debet fundari in aliqua qualitate 
superaddita, et in hac qualitate consis- 
tit character antecedenter ad relationem 

40 signi. Sentit ergo D. Thomas, quod re- 
latio signi est relatio fundata in aliquo 
alio. Et si solum esset relatio secundum 
dici seu transcendentalis, non negaret D. 
Thomas characterem in tali relatione con- 

45 sistere, quia qualitas bene potest esse 

14 Pa XXII. 335 b. 

15 In the original Latin: "quaest." 

16 Article 2, 90/15-30. 

17 In the original Latin: "c 

18 Esp. Article 2, 89/21-90/37. 

19 Pa VII. 506 a. 


[648a27-b37] 121 

a relation according to the way being must be expressed 
in discourse, as knowledge exists relative to an object and 
every act or habit to that by which it is specified. When 
therefore St. Thomas identifies the sacramental character 
with a quality and rules out identifying it with relation, 
he definitively rules out any identification of the sacra- 
mental character with a relation categorial and according 
to the way it has being, that is, he excludes it from the 
category of relation; for by placing it in the category of 
quality he had not sufficiently excluded its identification 
with a relation according to the way being must be ex- 
pressed in discourse, since even in the category of quali- 
ty is found relation according to the way being must be 
expressed in discourse. But St. Thomas identifies the ra- 
tionale of a sign with that relation from which he excludes 
the sacramental character. Therefore it is manifest that 
he constitutes the rationale of sign in a relation according 
to the way relation has being or in a categorial relation. 

from the very nature and defining feature of a sign, 
because the rationale of a sign does not consist only in 
representing or manifesting another than itself, but in that 
specific mode of manifesting by which one thing repre- 
sents another as modally subordinate thereto, as the less 
to the more principal, as the measured to its measure, 
as something substituted and vicegerent to that for which 
it is substituted, and in whose capacity it functions. But 
a relation of measured to measure and of one substituting 
for its principal is a categorial relation. Therefore the rela- 
tion of sign to signified is categorial. 

The minor premise of the argument is clear from the 
fact that a relation of measured to measure is a relation 
of the third of the three types of relation in the category 
of relation, as was proved in our Preamble on relation, 20 
Article 3. 21 The major premise, on the other hand, is clear 
from the fact that the relation of a sign insofar as it is a 
sign directly respects the significate as the principal thing 
to be known, to which the sign leads the power. For the 
function of a sign is to be a means and something substi- 
tuting in the place of a thing signified, which the sign 
manifests intentionally to a cognitive power, since the 
thing does not become known by means of itself, but 
through a substitute. Whence if a thing is manifest in it- 
self, the rationale and office of sign ceases. A sign there- 
fore is something respecting a significate as substituting 
for it, and something subordinate and ministerial to it and 
measured by it; for the more closely a sign is related to 
the significate in itself, the better it signifies. Nor is this 

relatio secundum dici, ut scientia se habet 
ad obiectum et omnis actus seu habitus ad 
id, a quo specificatur. Cum ergo ponit char- 
acterem in qualitate et reicit a relatione, 

5 utique a relatione praedicamentali et secun- 
dum esse reicit, id est a praedicamento rela- 
tionis; nam a relatione secundum dici non 
sufficienter reiciebat ponens ilium in 
praedicamento qualitatis, cum in hoc etiam 

w inveniatur relatio secundum dici. Sed in 
ilia relatione ponit D. Thomas rationem 
signi, a qua reicit characterem. Ergo mani- 
festum est, quod in relatione secundum 
esse seu praedicamentali constituit ratio- 
is nem signi. 

Et sumitur FUNDAMENTUM huius conclu- 
sionis ex ipsa natura et quidditate signi, 
quia ratio signi non consistit tantum in hoc, 
quod est repraesentare seu manifestare 

20 aliud a se, sed in tali modo manifestandi, 
quod est repraesentare aliud tamquam in- 
feriori modo ad illud, ut minus principale 
ad magis principale, ut mensuratum ad 
suam mensuram, ut substitutum et vices 

25 gerens ad id, pro quo substituitur et cuius 
gerit vices. Sed relatio mensurati ad men- 
suram et substituentis ad suum principale 
est relatio praedicamentalis. Ergo relatio 
signi ad signatum praedicamentalis est. 

30 Minor constat, cum relatio mensurati 
ad mensuram sit relatio tertii generis in 
praedicamento relationis, ut supra [in] 
Praeambulo Secundo 20 probatum est. 21 
Maior auterri est manifesta, quia relatio 

35 signi in quamtum signum directe respicit 
signatum tamquam principale cognoscen- 
dum, ad quod ducit potentiam. Ad hoc 
enim deservit signum, ut sit medium et 
substituens loco signati, quod intendit 

40 manifestare potentiae, eo quod res per seip- 
sam non innotescit, sed per tale medium. 
Unde si res seipsa manifestatur, cessat ratio 
et officium signi. Est ergo signum respi- 
ciens signatum ut subrogatum vice ipsius 

45 et aliquid deserviens et ministrans ipsi et 
mensuratum per ipsum; tanto enim melius 
signum significat, quanto propinquius se 
habet ad signatum in se. Neque hoc suffi- 

20 In the original Latin: "q. 17." 

21 Article 3, esp. 101/11-102/15, and 105/15-109/34. 

122 [648b37-649a48] 


sufficiently explained by a transcendental relation, in- 
asmuch as a sign bespeaks some connection with a signi- 
fied and by its very nature manifests that signified thing; 
for this is required, but it is not sufficient. For just as a son 
(although he is an effect of a father, and under the rationale 
of an effect respects that father transcendentally, yet in the 
rationale of son, as that rationale bespeaks likeness to an- 
other by reason of origin) does not express a transcenden- 
tal relation, but one categorial and according to the way 
relation has being; so a sign (although in the rationale of 
something manifestative and representative it respects a 
significate transcendentally, yet as it expresses the rationale 
of something measured and substituted for a significate, 
and, as it were, ministerial to it as to what is principal), 
respects the significate by an ontological relation, a rela- 
tion according to the way it has being. 

From this can be seen the difference between the ration- 
ale of something manifestative and of something significa- 
tive. That which is manifestative principally respects a 
power as the terminus toward which it tends or which it 
stimulates, and similarly, to represent something to a 
power is accomplished only by rendering the something 
in question present to the power as knowable. This, ac- 
cording to St. Thomas, in q. 7 of the Disputed Questions on 
Truth, art. 5, reply to obj. 2, 22 is but [for the power] to con- 
tain a similitude of the [represented] other. This contain- 
ing of a similitude, however, can occur without there being 
any relation which is a relation according to the way rela- 
tion has being: in the first place, because such a contain- 
ing can be a perfection simply and without any depend- 
ence on the thing represented, as God represents creatures 
in [the divine] ideas; in the second place, because this 
containing [i.e., this being similar] is conserved and exer- 
cised even when the [represented] term does not exist, and 
consequently even without a categorial relation, as is clear 
in a representation of a future or of a past thing; in the 
third place, finally, because this representation pertains to 
the rationale of something stimulating or arousing the 
power to which an object is rendered present by means 
of the representation. Whence it pertains essentially and 
directly to the object itself to be represented; but the ob- 
ject does not consist in an ontological relation to the 
power on the contrary, an object, essentially speaking, 
does not respect a power or depend on it, but power on 
object; for a power takes [its] specification from an object. 
Therefore to represent and to manifest do not consist in 
an ontological relation [i.e., neither a representation nor 
a manifestation is a relation according to the way it has 

cienter explicatur relatione transcendentali, 
quatenus signum connexionem aliquam 
elicit cum signato et ratione ipsius mani- 
festat illud; hoc enim requiritur, sed non 

5 sufficit. Sicut enim filius, licet sit effectus 
patris, et sub ratione effectus transcenden- 
taliter ipsum respiciat, tamen in ratione 
filii, ut dicit simile alteri in ratione proces- 
sionis, non dicit relationem transcenden- 

w talem, sed praedicamentalem et secundum 
esse; ita signum, licet in ratione manifes- 
tativi et repraesentativi respiciat signatum 
transcendentaliter, tamen ut dicit ratio- 
nem mensurati et substituti respectu sig- 

15 nati, et quasi ministrans ipsi ut principali, 
respicit ipsum relatione secundum esse. 
Et hinc discernitur differentia in- 
ter rationem manifestativi et sig- 
nificativi, quod manifestativum princi- 

20 paliter respicit potentiam ut terminum, ad 
quern tendit vel quem movet, et similiter 
repraesentare aliquid potentiae solum 
perficitur per hoc, quod reddat aliquid 
praesens potentiae cognoscibiliter, quod 

25 secundum D. Thomam, q. 7. de Veritate 
art. 5. ad. 2., 22 non est aliud quam simi- 
litudinem alterius continere. Ista autem 
continentia similitudinis sine aliqua rela- 
tione dari potest, quae sit relatio secun- 

30 dum esse: Turn quia talis continentia po- 
test esse perfectio simpliciter et sine ulla 
dependentia a re repraesentata, sicut Deus 
repraesentat creaturas in ideis. Turn quia 
conservatur ista continentia et exercetur 

35 etiam non existente termino, et conse- 
quenter etiam sine relatione praedicamen- 
tali, ut constat in repraesentatione rei 
futurae vel praeteritae. Turn denique quia 
repraesentatio ista pertinet ad rationem 

40 movendi potentiam, cui redditur praesens 
obiectum per repraesentationem. Unde 
ipsi obiecto per se et directe convenit re- 
praesentari; obiectum autem non consistit 
in relatione secundum esse ad potentiam, 

45 imo per se loquendo non respicit poten- 
tiam aut ab ea dependet, sed potentia ab 
ipso; ab eo enim specif icationem sumit. 
Non ergo repraesentare et manifestare in 
relatione secundum esse consistunt. 

22 Pa IX. 108 b. 


[649bl-650al2] 123 

But to signify or to be significative is understood 
directly through an order to a significate for which 
it substitutes and in whose capacity it functions as 
the means by which the significate is brought to a 
power. For a sign ministers to and subserves the signi- 
ficate itself in this, that the sign brings and presents 
that significate to the power as the sign's principal 
content capable of being presented. In just the same 
way too we consider two aspects in a minister and 
substitute for another, namely, subjection to that other 
whose place is taken as to the principal, and the ef- 
fect which he is commissioned by his principal to 
achieve. In this way, therefore, a sign, even though 
in representing it respects a power in order to mani- 
fest thereto what is signified (because a sign is des- 
tined and used for this effect), and in this precise 
consideration relative to a power need not consist 
in a relation according to the way relation has being, 
yet in the subordination to what is signified, inas- 
much as it respects that signified as what is principal 
and as the measure of itself, a sign must necessarily 
consist in [an ontological] relation thereto, just as a 
servant bespeaks a relation to a master and [as] a 
minister or instrument [bespeaks a relation] to its 

You might say: a sign does not respect a sig- 
nifiable as a pure terminus, but as the object of its 
signification; therefore a sign does not consist in a 
pure respect, but in a transcendental order, just as 
a cognitive power and knowledge respect an object, 
and yet the object measures the knowledge and the 

But against this is the fact that a sign does not re- 
spect a significate as an object or subject matter with 
which ;t is precisely concerned, as a cognitive power 
and knowledge respect their objects, but rather as a 
substitute and vicegerent of the significate and sur- 
rogated in its place of representing to a power. And 
because a sign directly implies this substitution for and 
surrogation to another, it is therefore formally some- 
thing relative to that for which it substitutes. A 
cognitive power and knowledge, by contrast, do not 
imply this relation to an object, but imply the ration- 
ale of a principle and an aptitude concerning something 
of the one operating [i.e., an agent's aptitude], which 
does not pertain to relation formally speaking; for it 
does not pertain to relation to be operative, but to be 
subject and substituted does pertain to relation. And 
thus knowledge and cognitive power, act and habit, 
respect an object as their measure fundamentally, not 
in a formally relative manner as does a sign, which is 

At vero signiftcare seu significativum esse 
directe sumitur per ordinem ad signatum, 
pro quo substituit et cuius vices gerit tam- 
quam medium, quo signatum ducitur ad 

5 potentiam. In hoc enim ministrat et deser- 
vit signum ipsi signato, quod defert illud 
et praesentat potentiae tamquam suum 
principale repraesentabile; sicut etiam in 
ministro et substitute alterius duo consi- 

w deramus, scilicet subiectionem ad alterum, 
cuius gerit vices, ut ad principale, et effec- 
tum, pro quo ministrat et vices eius gerit. 
Sic ergo signum, licet in repraesentando 
respiciat potentiam, ut ei manifestet signa- 

15 turn, quia ad hunc effectum destinatur et 
assumitur, et in hac praecisa consideratione 
ad potentiam non petat consistere in rela- 
tione secundum esse, tamen in subordina- 
tione ad signatum, quatenus respicit ipsum 

20 ut principale et ut mensuram sui, neces- 
sario debet in relatione ad ipsum consistere, 
sicut servus dicit relationem ad dominum 
et minister seu instrumentum ad suum 

25 DICES: Signum non respicit significabile 
ut purum terminum, sed ut obiectum suae 
significationis, ergo non consistit in puro 
respectu, sed in ordine transcendentali, 
sicut potentia et scientia respiciunt obiec- 

30 turn, et tamen obiectum mensurat scien- 
tiam et potentiam. 

Sed contra est, quia signum non res- 
picit signatum ut obiectum seu materiam, 
circa quam versetur praecise, sicut poten- 

35 tia et scientia sua obiecta respiciunt, sed 
tamquam substitutum et vices signati ge- 
rens et loco eius subrogatum in reprae- 
sentando potentiae. Et quia directe signum 
importat hanc substitutionem et subroga- 

40 tionem ad alterum, ideo formaliter est quid 
relativum ad id, pro quo substituit. Poten- 
tia autem et scientia non important hanc 
relationem ad obiectum, sed important ra- 
tionem principii et virtutis circa aliquid 

45 operantis, quod non est relationis forma- 
liter loquendo; operari enim relationi non 
convenit, esse autem subiectum et substi- 
tutum relationis est. Et ita scientia et poten- 
tia, actus et habitus respiciunt obiectum ut 

so mensuram sui fundamentaliter, non rela- 
tive formaliter sicut signum, quod forma- 

124 [650al2-b20] 


formally something subordinated and subsidiary to a 
signified, that is to say, is its vicegerent. This is the 
point of St. Thomas's teaching in the Summa theologica, 
I, q. 13, art. 7, reply to obj. 1, where he says that "some 
relative words are imposed to signify the relative con- 
dition or state itself, as, for example, 'master' and 'ser- 
vant/ 'father' and 'son,' and the like; and these words 
are said to be relative according to the way relation has 
being. But some relative words are imposed to signify 
the things which certain relations are consequent upon, 
such words as 'mover' and 'moved,' 'head' and 'that 
which has a head,' which are said to be relative ac- 
cording to the way being must be expressed in dis- 
course." Wherefore "knowledge" and "power" 
signify the very thing and principle upon which follows 
a relation to whatever objects, but "sign" directly 
signifies the respect toward the significate to which the 
sign is subordinated as a vicar to its principal. 

And from this you learn the basis for distinguishing 
between a power or light (which is the vitality of the 
power), and a specifying form or specifier, 23 both of 
which to be sure power and specifier concern an 
object, but a specifier as vicegerent of the object and 
containing it as its substitute, the power as tending 
toward the object as a thing to be apprehended. 
Whence between power and object it is sufficient that 
there be a proportion of acquiring something and of 
tending toward the terminus which is acquired, which 
is the proportion of the principle of a motion to the 
terminus. But a specifying form must have a propor- 
tion to an object as of something substituting for and 
acting on behalf of that object. And so, if it is perfect- 
ly and adequately vicegerent of the object, there is re- 
quired an altogether exact proportion in representable 
being, by reason of which a corporeal representation 
cannot be the specifier of a spiritual object, nor can a 
created representation be the specifier for an uncreated 
object. But if an uncreated representation is posited, 
the entity of the specifier will also be uncreated. 


The main basis for the opinion opposed [to 
the view that a sign is a relation according to the way it 
has being] is the case when a sign formally signifies a non- 
existing thing, as when the footprint of an ox signifies 
a nonexisting ox, or a statue of an emperor signifies a 
dead emperor. In such cases there is formally a sign; for 
a well-made inference from act to potency holds: "It 
signifies, therefore it is a sign," and yet formally there 

liter est quid subordinatum et inferius 
signato seu vices eius gerens. Et pro hoc 
servit doctrina S. Thomae 1. p. q. 13. art. 
7. ad. 1., ubi inquit, quod relativa quae- 

5 dam sunt imposita ad significandum ipsam 
habitudinem relativam, ut dominus et ser- 
vus, pater et filius et huiusmodi, et haec 
dicuntur relativa secundum esse. Quaedam 
vero sunt imposita ad significandum res, 

w quas consequuntur quaedam habitudines, 
sicut movens et motum, caput et capita- 
turn, quae dicuntur relativa secundum di- 
ci. Quare scientia et potentia significant 
rem ipsam et principium, ad quod sequitur 

is habitudo ad talia obiecta, signum autem 

directe significat respectum ad signatum, 

cui subordinatur ut vicarium suo principali. 

Et hinc disces fundamentum ad discer- 

nendum inter potentiam seu lumen, quod 

20 est virtus potentiae, et speciem, 23 quod 
utraque qiiidem versantur circa obiectum, 
sed species ut vices gerens obiecti et ipsum 
continens quasi eius substitutum, virtus 
autem potentiae ut tendens ad obiectum 

25 apprehendendum. Unde inter potentiam 
et obiectum sufficit proportio acquirentis 
aliquid et tendentis ad terminum, qui ac- 
quiritur, quae est proportio principii motus 
ad terminum. At vero species debet habere 

30 proportionem ad obiectum tamquam sub- 
stituentis et vices eius gerentis. Et ita si 
perfecte et adaequate vices eius gerat, re- 
quiritur omnimoda proportio in esse re- 
praesentabili, ratione cuius nee corporea re- 

35 praesentatio potest esse species spiritualis 
obiecti nee creata repraesentatio species 
obiecto increato. Si autem ponitur increata 
repraesentatio, etiam et entitas speciei in- 
creata erit. 



Praecipuum fundamentum sententiae 
oppositae est, qui signum rem non exis- 
tentem formaliter significat, ut vestigium 
45 bovis bovem non existentem, imago imper- 
atoris mortuum imperatorem. Ergo formali- 
ter est signum; ab actu enim ad potentiam 
bene valet: Significat, ergo est signum, 
et tamen formaliter non est relatio, quia 

23 See Book II, Questions 2 and 3, esp. 242/3-245/4, and 254/1-255/15. 


[650b20-651al4] 125 


is not a relation, because there is no categorial relation 
to a nonexisting term. Therefore, a sign does not formal- 
ly consist in a relation. 

This is confirmed by the fact that the formal ra- 
tionale of a sign is sustained by this, that it be something 5 
truly and formally leading a cognitive power to what it 
signifies. But to lead a power to a significate does not 
come about by means of a relation, but by means of the 
proportion and connection which obtains between the 
sign and the signified, which is the fundament of a rela- w 
tion. Therefore a sign does not formally consist in a rela- 
tion, but in the fundament of a relation. The major 
premise follows from the definition of sign. If a sign is 
"that which represents something to a knowing power," 
then it is accordingly something leading the power to an 
object signified. The minor premise is proved by the fact 
that for a sign to represent to me, it is not necessary that 
I should be aware of its relation. For example, a coun- 
tryman knows an animal by its tracks, not by thinking 
of a relation, and brute animals make use of signs (as will 
be explained below), and do not know the relation, but 
only the significate precisely as it is known in the sign. 
Therefore, if the relation is not known, the relation does 
not lead, and so does not pertain to the formal rationale 
of the sign. 

In response to this, the first thing to be said is that the 
argument 24 has no force in the eyes of those who think 
that a sign-relation is always mind-dependent or mental, 
even in the case of natural signs, because they think the 
sign-relation is founded upon the apprehensibility of the 30 
things which are signs. But given that the relation of a 
natural sign to its significate is mind-independent, the 
response to the foregoing argument is that when an em- 
peror dies his statue does not remain a sign formally, but 
virtually and fundamentally. Yet a sign arouses or stimu- 35 
lates a cognitive power by reason of its fundament, not 
by reason of its relation, just as a father begets not by 
reason of a relation, but by reason of a generative power, 
and yet being a father consists formally in a relation. 25 



ad terminum non existentem non datur 
relatio praedicamentalis. Ergo signum for- 
maliter in relatione non consistit. 

Confirmatur, quia forrnalis ratio sig- 
ni salvatur per hoc, quod sit vere et for- 
maliter ductivum potentiae ad suum sig- 
natum. Sed ducere potentiam ad signatum 
non fit media relatione, sed media propor- 
tione et connexione, quae est inter signum 
et signatum, quae est fundamentum rela- 
tionis. Ergo signum formaliter non consistit 
in relatione, sed in fundamento relationis. 
Maior constat ex definitione signi quod 
repraesentat aliquid potentiae cognoscen- 
ti^ ergo est ductivum potentiae ad signa- 
tum. Minor probatur, quia ut signum mihi 
repraesentet, non est necesse, quod cog- 
noscam relationem eius, sicut rusticus ex 
vestigio cognoscit animal non cogitando de 
relatione, et bruta utuntur signis, ut infra 
dicetur, nee relationem cognoscunt, sed 
solum signatum, prout cognoscitur in sig- 
no. Ergo si relatio non cognoscitur, relatio 
non ducit, et sic non pertinet ad f ormalem 
rationem signi. 

RESPONDETUR imprimis illud argumen- 
tum 24 carere vi in opinione eorum, qui ex- 
istimant relationem signi semper esse ra- 
tionis, etiam in signis naturalibus, quia 
existimant fundari in eorum apprehensibili- 
tate. Sed dato, quod relatio signi naturalis 
realis sit, respondetur, quod mortuo im- 
peratore non manet signum formaliter, sed 
virtualiter et fundamentaliter. Signum au- 
tem ratione sui fundamenti movet poten- 
tiam, non ratione suae relationis, sicut pater 
non ratione relationis generat, sed ratione 
potentiae generativae, et tamen formaliter 
consistit in relatione. 25 

24 124/42-125/3. 

25 In the immediately preceding and following lines, Poinsot might seem to be thinking in 
the perspective only of instrumental signs. This, however, is not the case, as he expressly recurs 
to these passages in his Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 6. art. 3: "licet species sen similitude, ut habeat relationem 
realem praedicamentalem ad obiectum, requirat existentiam illius, tamen ut sit repraesentativum eius et 
exerceat repraesentationem ad potentiam, sufficit transcendentalis ordo ad obiectum, qui remanet etiam 
non existente obiecto, et est fundamentum illius relationis, sicut mortuo imperatore potest imago eius 
repraesentare ipsum, licet non respicere realiter ipsum. Et sic diximus in Logica q. 21. art. 1., quod licet 
signum consistat in relatione secundum esse, tamen exercitium repraesentandi non fit per relationem ipsam, 
sed per fundamentum eius, quod est esse repraesentativum, sicut pater licet relatione sit pater, non tamen 
relatione generat, sed fundamento relationis, quae est potentia generativa" (Reiser ed., III. 
191a4-25). "Although a specifier or similitude requires the existence of an object in order to 
have a mind-independent categorial relation thereto, nevertheless, for it to be representative 

126 [651al5-b8] 


And to the proof: 26 "It signifies formally, i.e., in act, 
therefore it is formally a sign," the consequence is flatly 
denied, because it suffices to be a sign virtually in order 
to signify in act. This can be readily seen in an example: 
X in act causes and produces an effect, therefore it is in 
act really a cause; for when the cause in question no 
longer exists in itself, through the virtuality or efficacy 
it leaves behind, it causes and causes formally, because 
the effect is then formally produced. Just so, when a sign 
exists and by a virtual signification formally leads the 
mind to something signified [which no longer exists in 
fact], it is nevertheless not a sign formally, but virtually 
and fundamentally. For since the rationale of moving 
or stimulating the mind remains, which comes about 
through the sign insofar as it is something representative, 
even if the relation of substitution for the signified does 
not remain, the sign is able to exercise the functions of 
substituting without the relation, just as a servant or 
minister can perform the operations of his ministry even 
when the master, to whom he bespeaks a relation, and 
in which relation the rationale of servant and minister 
formally consists, has died. 

To the confirmation 27 the response is that in the ra- 
tionale of something conductive or leading, there are two 
elements to be considered, to wit, the capacity or rationale 
of exercising the very representation of the thing to be 
conveyed, and the relation of subjection to or substi- 
tution for that on whose behalf it exercises the represen- 
tation, just as in the case of a master, both a power of 
governing or coercing subjects and a relation to them are 
considered, and in the case of a servant, both a power 
of obeying and a relation of subjection. As regards the 
capacity to lead representatively, we grant that it is not 
a relation according to the way relation has being, but 
the fundament of [such] a relation; specifically, it is that 
proportion and connection with the thing signified; but 
as regards the formality of sign, which is not any pro- 







Et ad probationem: 26 Formaliter, id est 
actu significat, ergo formaliter est signum, 
negatur liquide consequentia, quia sufficit 
virtualiter esse signum, ut actu significet. 
Et instatur manifeste in hac: B actu causat 
et producit effectum, ergo actu in re est 
causa; nam ipsa causa non existens in se, 
per virtutem a se relictam causat et for- 
maliter causat, quia effectus tune formaliter 
producitur. Sic existente signo et significa- 
tione virtuali formaliter ducit potentiam ad 
signatum, et tamen formaliter non est 
signum, sed virtualiter et fundamentaliter. 
Cum enim maneat ratio movendi potentia, 
quod fit per signum, in quantum reprae- 
sentativum est, etiamsi non maneat re- 
latio substitutionis ad signatum, potest 
exercere functiones substituentis sine rela- 
tione, sicut servus vel minister potest ex- 
ercere operationes sui rninisterii etiam mor- 
tuo domino, ad quern dicit relationem, et 
in qua formaliter consistit ratio servi et 

Ad confirmationem 27 respondetur, 
quod in ratione ductivi est duo considerare, 
scilicit vim seu rationem exercendi ipsam 
repraesentationem ducendi, et relationem 
subiectionis seu substitutionis ad id, pro 
quo earn exercet, sicut in domino et con- 
sideratur potestas gubernandi seu coercen- 
di subditos et relatio ad illos, et in servo 
potestas obediendi et relatio subiectionis. 
Quantum ad vim ducendi repraesentative, 
fatemur non esse relationem secundum 
esse, sed fundamentum relationis, scilicet 
ilia proportio et connexio cum signato; sed 
quantum ad formalitatem signi, quae non 

of that object and exercise representation to the cognitive power, a transcendental order to the 
object suffices. And this order remains even when the object does not exist, and it is the funda- 
ment of that relation, just as when the emperor dies his image can represent him, even though 
it cannot mind-independently respect him. And so we said in the Logic, q. 21, art. 1, that although 
a sign consists in an ontological relation, yet the exercise of representing does not come about 
through the relation itself, but through its fundament, which is to be representative, just as a 
father, even though he is a father by a relation, yet does not generate by the relation, but by 
the fundament of the relation, which is the generative power." On this last point, crucial to 
the doctrine of signs, see particularly the First Preamble, Article 2, 60/26-44, Article 3, 70/24-71/19; 
Second Preamble, Article 1, 84/45-84/40, Article 2, 88/14-27, 89/13-20, 95/25-36, Article 3, 110/39-42; 
Book I, Question 2, Ull 12-1421 13, Question 3, 165/9-16, Question 5, note 21, p. 201, and 
201/28-202/27; Book II, Question 5, 275/7-29; and in this Question the responses to the second 
counterargument below, 128/7-131/18. 

26 esp. 124/47-125/3. 

27 125/4-25. 


[651b8-652al4] 127 

portion and representation, but one subserving and 
substituted for what is signified, it consists formally 
in the relation of a substituted representative, just as 
being a servant or being a master are formally relations, 
and yet the right of coercing and of obeying are not 
relations according to the way they have being. 

A second argument against the view that 
a sign consists in the very relation to what is signified, 
rather than in the fundament of any such relation, is 
as follows: A sign formally consists in this, that it is 
something able to lead a cognitive power to a 
significate; for it is through this that anything has 
signification, which is the form of [i.e., which consti- 
tutes] a sign, and it is through this that the definition 
of a sign namely, what represents to a knowing 
power something other than itself applies to it. But 
a sign has this ability to lead to a signified even as a 
means and instrument, through a transcendental rela- 
tion. Therefore, it is in that relation that a sign formal- 
ly consists. 

The minor premise is proved: Forasignhas 
the ability to lead a power as the means to something 
signified, through that from which it has the ability to 
manifest the significate to a power. It has this mani- 
festative ability, however, not by reason of a categorial 
relation, but by reason of a transcendental relation, be- 
cause when a transcendental relation of cause or of ef- 
fect or of image is known, or when any connection of two 
things is known, the terminus of the relation or connec- 
tion is immediately attained. Therefore there is no need 
for any categorial relation in order that a sign might lead 
to a signified or be able to so lead, since a transcendental 
relation sufficiently exercises the requisite ability. Nor will 
it do to say that that transcendental relation is the fun- 
dament of the sign-relation, because what is only funda- 
mentally of a given character cannot bring about the for- 
mal effect, just as a generative power cannot formally 
constitute a father, nor a quality a resemblance, even 
though they are the fundaments of these relations. There- 
fore, if a transcendental relation only founds the sign- 
relation, it would not provide formally the formal effect 
of the sign or its exercise. 

This is confirmed by the fact that it is in- 
congruous to say that in the case of stipulated signs, they 
do not continue to be signs formally when they are not 
here and now related to what they signify, as in the case 
of a closed book: The sign the printing within is not 
seen, and so does not have in act the relation which, since 
it is mind-dependent, depends here and now upon an 
actual cognition. Therefore a sign cannot consist for- 
mally in a relation according to the way relation has 

est quaelibet proportio et repraesentatio, 
sed subserviens et substituta signato, con- 
sistit formaliter in relatione substituti re- 
praesentativi, sicut esse servum vel esse 

5 dominum formaliter relationes sunt, et ta- 
men ius coercendi et obediendi relationes 
secundum esse non sunt. 

Secundo arguitur: Signum formaliter 
consistit in hoc, quod est posse ducere po- 

w tentiam ad signatum; per hoc enim habet 
significationem, quae est forma signi, et per 
hoc convenit illi definitio signi, scilicet re- 
praesentativum alterius a se potentiae cog- 
noscenti. Sed hoc, quod est posse ducere 

15 ad signatum etiam tamquam medium et in- 
strumentum, habet per relationem trans- 
cendentalem; ergo in ilia consistit signum 

Minor probatur: Nam per id habet sig- 

20 num ducere potentiam ad signatum ut 
medium, per quod habet manifestare po- 
tentiae signatum. Hoc autem habet non 
ratione relationis praedicamentalis, sed 
transcendentalis, quia cognita relatione 

25 transcendental! causae vel effectus vel ima- 
ginis vel quacumque connexione duorum, 
attingitur statim terminus. Ergo non re- 
quiritur aliqua relatio praedicamentalis, ut 
signum ducat ad signatum vel possit du- 

30 cere, cum transcendentalis id sufficienter 
exerceat. Nee valet dicere, quod ilia trans- 
cendentalis relatio est fundamentum rela- 
tionis signi, quia quod solum est tale fun- 
damentaliter, non potest dare effectum 

35 formalem, sicut potentia generativa non 
potest formaliter constituere patrem nee 
qualitas simile, licet sint fundamenta is- 
tarum relationum. Ergo si relatio transcen- 
dentalis solum f undat relationem signi, f or- 

40 maliter non praebet effectum formalem 
signi aut eius exercitium. 

Et confirmatur, quia inconveni- 
ens est in signis ad placitum, quod non 
maneant signa formaliter, quando actu 

45 non respiciunt suum signatum, ut in li- 
bro clause, in quo non cognoscitur sig- 
num illud seu litterae ibi scriptae, et 
sic actu non habent relationem, quae 
cum sit rationis, ab actuali cognitione 

so dependet. Ergo non potest consistere 
signum formaliter in relatione secundum 

128 [652al4-bl6] 


being. 28 The antecedent is proved by the fact that a sign 
in a closed book retains its imposition [i.e., its stipulated 
character and status], therefore also its signification, 
which can be reduced to act by opening the book. 
Therefore it is formally and actually a sign, because it re- 
tains in act a signification. 29 

In response, it must be said that nothing more is 
proved by this second argument 30 than by the preceding 
argument, 31 and therefore we say that the formal rationale 
of a sign consists in this, that it can lead someone to the 
knowledge of a significate, not by an ability [to lead] in 
any way whatever, but in one subjected to and 
substituting for the signified and subsidiary thereto in the 
rationale of sign. And therefore, in a sign, both the capa- 
city for moving or arousing the power and the order of 
substituting relative to that on whose behalf it stimu- 
lates or moves, are considered. And the first is a tran- 
scendental relation; the second, a categorial one. And it 
is in the second that the sign consists, not in the first, 
because the first, namely, to manifest another, also be- 
longs to things which are not signs, as we have remarked 
in the example of light manifesting colors, of an object 
representing itself, of God representing creatures. The 
fact therefore that when an effect is perceived a cause is 
known, or that when an image is perceived the archetype 
is cognized, does not formally constitute the rationale of 
sign, unless we add the peculiar relation of a substituting 
representative, etc., which is to say, a relation according 
to the way relation has being. 

And to the further argument, 32 the response is that the 
fundament of a sign does not formally constitute the ra- 
tionale of the sign as regards that which formally belongs 
to subjection and substitution, but as regards that which 
belongs to the capacity for arousing or moving, 33 just as 
a generative power constitutes the capacity for generating 
in a father, not the formal relation of [being] a father, 
which consists in the rationale of an assimilating princi- 
ple [a principle of likeness] and of having an authority 
relative to the son. 

As regards the confirmation of the second argument, 34 
opinions differ widely on how it must be answered, in- 








esse.^Antecedens autem probatur, quia sig- 
num in libro clause retinet suam imposi- 
tionem, ergo et suam significationem, quae 
potest reduci ad actum aperiendo librum. 
Ergo est f ormaliter et actu signum, quia ac- 
tu retinet significationem. 29 

RESPONDETUR illo argumento 30 nihil ma- 
gis probari quam praecedenti, 31 et ideo 
dicimus, quod formalis ratio signi consistit 
in hoc, quod est posse ducere aliquem in 
cognitionem signati, non potentia quomo- 
documque, sed subiecta et substituente pro 
signato et illi inferiori in ratione signi. Et 
ideo consideratur in signo et vis movens 
potentiam et ordo substituentis ad id, pro 
quo mo vet. Et primum est relatio trans- 
cendentalis, secundum praedicamentalis. 
Et in secunda consistit signum, non in 
prima, quia prima, scilicet manifestare 
alterum, etiam illis convenit, quae signa 
non sunt, sicut diximus de luce manifes- 
tante colores, obiecto se repraesentante, 
Deo repraesentante creaturas. Quod ergo 
viso effectu cognoscatur causa vel visa ima- 
gine archetypus, non constituit formaliter 
rationem signi, nisi addamus peculiarem 
relationem repraesentativi substituentis 
etc., quod relationem secundum esse dicit. 

Et ad impugnationem 32 respondetur, 
quod fundamentum signi non constituit 
formaliter rationem signi, quantum ad id, 
quod formaliter est subiectionis et substitu- 
tionis, sed quantum ad id, quod est virtutis 
movendi, 33 sicut potentia generativa con- 
stituit virtutem generandi in patre, non for- 
malem relationem patris, quae consistit in 
ratione principii assimilantis et auctoritatem 
habentis in or dine ad f ilium. 

Ad confirmationem 34 respondetur 
varie aliquos sentire in hac parte de signis 
ad placitum, eo quod in illis relatio signi 

28 In addition to Poinsot's formal response to this at line 7 ff. immediately below, see the 
First Preamble, Article 3, above, 70/24-71/19; and Book II, Question 5, 275/8-29, below. 

29 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "Et ideo non consistit in pura relatione, quia haec non reducitur ad 
actum, sed semper respicit actu suum terminum, si est vera relatio."- "And therefore it does not 
consist in a pure relation, because this is not reduced to act, but always respects in act its term, 
if it is a true relation." 

so 127/7-20. 

31 124/42-125/25. 

32 127/34-42. 

33 Cf. 125/31-39 above, and Question 5, 200/27-201/27 below. 

34 127/43-128/6. 


[652bl6-653a21] 129 

asmuch as it concerns stipulated signs, owing to the fact 
that in the case of such signs the sign-relation (if there 
is one) is acknowledged by all to be not mind-indepen- 
dent, but mind-dependent. 

And there are some who think that mind-dependent 
relation not only denominates, but also exists by the ex- 
istence of its fundament, at least imperfectly and in- 
choately, and so denominates even before it is actually 
apprehended. But this response leaves unresolved the 
very two points of difficulty which are to be explained. 
The first point of difficulty is that even such an existence 
will not denominate the sign in question as a sign perfect- 
ly and simply, but only inchoately and imperfectly; and 
thus a sign in a closed book, or a sign uttered vocally but 
not actually apprehended in a relation [to what it signi- 
fies], will not be a sign perfectly, but i choately and im- 
perfectly, yet it would acquire the p* .feet rationale of a 
sign when it is actually apprehended. The same difficul- 
ty to which this position was proposed as a solution, 
therefore, remains outstanding, namely, how can the sign 
in a closed book, or in a vocal utterance not apprehen- 
ded relatively, perfectly signify and lead to a significate? 
For the linguistic mark or sound "man" does not repre- 
sent its significate less perfectly if its relation is appre- 
hended than if it is not apprehended, for it retains im- 
position and perfect signification in the same way [in 
either case] . Therefore it will be a sign prior to the rela- 
tion perfectly and consummately and not only inchoate- 
ly, because equally perfectly it signifies and is a sign prior 
to that relation. 35 The second point of difficulty turns on 
the fact that the imperfect and inchoate existence in ques- 
tion is either only fundamental and virtual in respect of 
the sign, or actual as well. If it is only fundamental, this 
is to say that only the fundament of the sign exists, not 
the sign itself formally. If actual, it is very difficult to see 
how a mind-independent physical existence of the sort 
exercised by the fundament should, prior to an actual ap- 
prehension, render actually existing that which is a mind- 
dependent being possessed only of an objective existence. 
For in that case it will not be a purely mind-dependent 
being, since it will be capable of a physical existence as 
well, albeit an imperfect and inchoate one. 

Others are of the opinion that a stipulated sign is for- 
mally a sign even prior to the formal existence of the 

(si datur) secundum omnium consensum 
realis non est, sed rationis. 

Et sunt, qui putant relationem rationis 
non solum denominare, sed etiam existere 

5 existentia sui fundamenti, saltern imper- 
fecte et inchoate, et sic denominare etiam, 
antequam actu apprehendatur. Sed restant 
huic responsioni duo difficilia explicanda. 
Prirnum, quod etiam talis existentia non de- 

w nominabit perfecte et simpliciter tale sed 
solum inchoate et imperfecte; et sic signum 
in libro clause vel in voce prolatum, sed 
non actu apprehensa relatione, non erit sig- 
num perfecte, sed inchoate et imperfecte, 

is acquiret vero perfectam rationem signi, 
quando actu apprehenditur. Restat ergo 
eadem difficultas, quae in hanc cogit solu- 
tionem, scilicet quomodo signum in libro 
clause vel in voce prolatum, sed non ap- 

20 prehensum relative, possit perfecte signi- 
ficare et ducere in signatum. Nee enim 
minus perfecte repraesentat ly homo suum 
significatum, si apprehendatur relatio eius, 
quam si non apprehendatur, retinet enim 

25 eodem modo impositionem et perfectam 
significationem. Ergo erit perfecte et con- 
summate signum et non solum inchoate 
ante relationem, quia aeque perfecte sig- 
nificat et est signum ante illam. 35 Se- 

30 cunda difficultas est, quia ilia imperfecta 
existentia et inchoata vel est solum funda- 
mentalis et virtualis respectu signi vel etiam 
actualis. Si fundamentalis tantum, hoc est 
dicere, quod solum existit fundamentum 

35 signi, non formaliter ipsum signum. Si ac- 
tualis, difficile valde est, quod existentia 
realis, qualis est fundamenti, ante actualem 
apprehensionem reddat actualiter existens 
id, quod est ens rationis et solum habens 

40 esse obiectivum. Sic enim non erit pure ens 
rationis, cum sit capax etiam realis existen- 
tiae, licet imperfectae et inchoatae. 

Alii existimant formaliter esse signum 
etiam ante formalem existentiam relationis 

35 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "Aut saltern dignosceremus illam imperfectam significationem ex defectu 
apprehensionis relationis provenientem, aut posita relatione crescentem, quod nullus experitur. Si autem 
aeque perfecte ducit ante illam relationem, aeque perfecte significat et aeque perfecte est signum, ergo non 
solum imperfecte et inchoate existit." "Or at least we should distinguish that imperfect significa- 
tion arising from want of apprehension, or increasing when the relation is posited, which no 
one experiences. But if it leads equally perfectly prior to that relation, it equally perfectly signifies 
and is equally perfectly a sign, therefore it does not only imperfectly and inchoately exist." 

130 [653a21-b29] 


relation of the sign. Others deem it to be a sign only in a 
moral way, because the imposition [the social institution 
of its meaning] is said to remain in a moral way. But the 
difficulty is whether this would be a sign-existence in act 
or not. For to speak of a sign being in act "morally" is to 
employ a mitigating particle, as if one were to say in act 
"fundamentally," or in act "virtually"; for that "morali- 
ty" of the enduring imposition [namely, social usage] is the 
fundament of a relation. 

Wherefore, it ought to be said simply that the imposi- 
tion or stipulation of something to be a sign of such or such 
a thing is only the fundament of the relation of the sign, 
because it gives to the sign a connection with a given thing 
and a substitution for it for the purpose of signifying, not 
naturally, but according to the intention of the one impos- 
ing, just as the abstraction of a nature is the fundament of 
universality. Whence just as a natural sign exercises 
signification by reason of its fundament, even when it does 
not have a relation in act to what is signified owing to the 
nonexistence of that particular significate for example, the 
statue of the emperor when the emperor himself is dead; 36 
so a linguistic sound or mark, even when the relation is 
not conceived in act and consequently does not exist by 
means of a concept, still signifies and represents by reason 
of the imposition once made. This imposition does not 
create the sign formally, but fundamentally and proximate- 
ly, as we will explain in Book II, 37 Question 38 5. 39 And there 
is nothing particularly puzzling or incongruous about the 
fact that, in the case of these mind-dependent relatives, 
when the actual cognition of some pattern ceases, the for- 
mal existence of that pattern and the formal denomination 
originating from such an existence should also cease, and 
arise again when there is another actual cognition, as long 
as the fundamental denomination remains constant the 
sort of denomination that remains in a universal when it 
is removed from comparison and relation and posited alone 
in abstraction; for it continues to be something universal 
metaphysically, not logically. So a stipulated sign without 
a cognized relation continues to be a sign morally and fun- 
damentally and (as it were) metaphysically, that is to say, 
it remains in an order to the effect of representing; but it 
does not continue to be a sign formally and (as it were) 
logically or as regards the intention of the relation. 40 

You will press the point: That passive imposition 
of a sign leaves nothing mind-independent or physical in 
the sign, therefore it cannot move the cognitive power nor 

signi. Alii solum morali modo censeri sig- 
num, quia morali modo dicitur manere 
impositio. Sed an hoc sit actu esse signum 
vel non, est difficultas. Nam actu morali- 

5 ter est particula diminuens, perinde ac si 

dicatur actu fundamentaliter vel actu vir- 

tualiter; moralitas enim ilia impositionis 

durantis est fundamentum relationis. 

Quare simpliciter dicendum est, quod im- 

w positio seu destinatio alicuius, ut sit sig- 
num talis vel talis rei, solum est funda- 
mentum relationis signi, quia dat illi con- 
nexionem cum tali re et subrogationem 
pro ilia ad significandum non naturaliter, 

is sed secundum placitum imponentis, sicut 
abstractio naturae est fundamentum uni- 
versalitatis. Unde sicut signum naturale 
ratione sui fundamenti exercet significa- 
tionem, etiamsi non habeat relationem ac- 

20 tu ad signatum, quia tale signatum non 
existit, ut imago imperatoris ipso mor- 
tuo; 36 ita vox vel scriptura, etiamsi actu 
non concipiatur relatio et consequenter 
non existat mediante conceptu, adhuc sig- 

25 nificat et repraesentat ratione impositionis 
semel factae, quae non reddit formaliter 
signum, sed fundamentaliter proxime, ut 
dicemus [in] libro 37 seq. q. 38 5. 39 Et non est 
ullum inconveniens in his relativis ratio- 

30 nis, quod cessante cognitione actuali ali- 
cuius formae cesset formalis existentia 
illius et formalis denominatio a tali exis- 
tentia proveniens, et rursus posita cog- 
nitione consurgat, manente semper fun- 

35 damentali denominatione, qualis manet 
in universali remota comparatione et rela- 
tione positaque sola abstractione; manet 
enim universale metaphysice, non logice. 
Sic signum ad placitum sine relatione cog- 

40 nita manet signum moraliter et funda- 
mentaliter et quasi metaphysice, id est in 
ordine ad effectum repraesentandi, non 
formaliter et quasi logice seu quoad inten- 
tionem relationis. 40 

45 Instabis: nia impositio passiva signi 
nihil reale in eo relinquit, ergo nequit 

36 125/26-126/22 above, esp. note 25. 

37 In the original Latin: "quaest." 

38 In the original Latin: "art." 

39 esp. at 275/9-41. See also the First Preamble, Article 3, 70/11-71/19. 

40 See also Book II, Question 5, 273/22-275/41. 


[653b29-654a40] 131 

lead that power to a significate, because a power cannot be 
moved by that which is nothing; for an object stimulating 
actuates and perfects a power, which the imposition in ques- 
tion cannot do. Therefore [a linguistic mark in a closed book 
or a linguistic sound heard but not understood] does not 
remain a sign fundamentally, [for] this [i.e., the fundamental 
being of a sign] consists in a stimulating and representing. 

I answer that the entire argument so stated also applies 
to the case of the stipulated sign when it exists in act and 
completely; for it is always true of this genre of sign that 
it is something produced by the mind. And therefore we 
say that a stipulated sign moves (acts) by reason of the im- 
position, not as knowable immediately and by reason of 
itself, but mediately and through another, just as any other 
unreal beings; and thus we say, presupposing that its 
knowability is got by borrowing, a stipulated sign takes on 
the rationale of something moving and representing, just 
as it also takes on the rationale of something knowable. 41 

A third argument: the genus of sign is [defined by] 
the rationale of something representative together with the 
rationale of a knowable object, knowable not terminally, as 
what is signified, but instrumentally or mediately. But the 
rationale of something representative and the rationale of 
an object do not express the rationale of an ontological rela- 
tion, but of a transcendental relation; what is more, the for- 
mality of something knowable as such is not being formal- 
ly, but presuppositively, since it is a coincident property of 
being and consequently not the determinate kind of being 
that relation is; therefore neither is the sign the kind of being 
that relation is. 

The consequence of this argument is clear, for if 
the genus does not fall within the pattern of something rela- 
tive, how can the specific kinds of signs pertain to relation? 
The minor premise of the argument we grant. The major 
premise follows from the definition of the sign as what 
represents to a cognizing power; therefore being something 
representative and being an object or knowable thing belong 
to a sign essentially. For something cannot lead to the cogni- 
tion of a signified except by objectifying and representing 
itself to a cognitive power; but "representing" cannot be 
predicated of a sign essentially as species or difference, since 
it also belongs to other things. Therefore it must be 
predicated as the genus. 

This is confirmed: If sign in general cannot consist 
in a relation, then absolutely a sign is not a relation. The 
antecedent is proved in two ways. First, because the condi- 
tion of being a sign is common to the formal and the in- 
strumental sign; a formal sign, however, is not a relation, 
but a quality, since it is an awareness or concept, as is said 

movere potentiam nee ducere illam ad 
signatum, quia potentia nequit moveri 
ab eo, quod est nihil; obiectum enim 
movens actuat et perficit potentiam, 

5 quod ilia impositio non potest. Ergo non 
manet fundamentaliter signum, hoc est 
vis movens et repraesentans. 

Respondetur totum hoc procedere 
etiam in signo ipso ad placitum existente 

w actu et complete; semper enim aliquid 
rationis est. Et ideo dicimus, quod movet 
ratione impositionis, non ut cognoscibilis 
immediate et ratione sui, sed mediate et 
per aliud, sicut reliqua entia non realia, 

is et sic supposita eius cognoscibilitate 

emendicata induit rationem moventis et 

repraesentantis sicut et cognoscibilis. 41 

Tertio arguitur: Genus signi est ratio 

repraesentativi et ratio obiecti cognosci- 

20 bilis, non ultimi, ut signatum, sed medii. 
Sed ratio repraesentativi et obiecti non di- 
cunt rationem relationis secundum esse, 
sed transcendentalis; imo et formalitas 
cognoscibilis ut sic non est ens formaliter, 

25 sed praesuppositive, cum sit passio en- 

tis et consequenter nee determinatum 

ens, quod est relatio; ergo neque signum. 

Consequentia patet, quia si genus non 

est in ratione relativi, quomodo species 

so ad relationem potest pertinere? Minor a 
nobis admittitur. Maior ex definitione 
signi constat, quod potentiae cognosci- 
tivae repraesentativum est; ergo reprae- 
sentativum et ratio obiecti seu cognosci- 

35 bilis signo essentialiter convenit. Non 
enim aliter ducere potest in cognitionem 
signati nisi obiciendo et repraesentando 
se potentiae; repraesentativum autem 
non potest essentialiter dici de signo ut 

40 species vel differentia, cum etiam aliis 
conveniat, ergo ut genus. 

Confirmatur: Signum in com- 
muni non potest consistere in relatione, 
ergo absolute signum non est relatio. 

45 Antecedens probatur, turn quia signum est 
commune ad signum formale et instru- 
mentale; formale autem non est relatio, 
sed qualitas, cum sit notitia vel concep- 
tus, ut infra dicetur. Turn quia est com- 

41 See Question 4 below, 189/8-190/3 and esp. note 35 p. 190. 

132 [654a41-b44] 




below. Second, because the condition of being a sign is 
common to the stipulated and the natural sign; there is, 
however, no relation common to both except relation 
abstracting from the mind-independent and the mind- 
dependent, in the opinion of those who say that the rela- 5 
tion of a natural sign is mind-independent. But the rela- 
tion of a sign is more determinate and contracted than 
that which abstracts from the mind-independent and the 
mind-dependent. Therefore the sign in general does not 
bespeak a relation according to the way it has being; for w 
it would have to be placed determinately in some member 
of ontological relation, either in the physical or in the men- 
tal. [Yet if it were placed in one of these determinately, 
the condition of being a sign could not be common to 
both stipulated and natural signs.] 

The response to this third argument 42 is that being 
representative is not the genus of sign, but the funda- 
ment, just as generative power is not the genus of pater- 
nity, but the fundament; nor is the fundament of sign 
the representative alone for by itself the representative 
bears only remotely on a sign to be founded but a 
definite sort of representative factor, namely, one sub- 
stituting for a signified and subordinated to it in repre- 
senting and leading it to a cognitive power. And repre- 
senting is posited in the definition of the sign as the 25 
fundament which pertains to relation; for the sign as an 
instance of relation depends essentially on a fundament. 
And if the relation is of some cause or effect or opera- 
tion, the entirety of its reality comes about through the 
fundament; for a relation has no other reality than to re- 
spect, if it is an ontological relation, just as a father 
generates by reason of a fundament, a master commands 
by reason of a fundament, a minister substitutes and 
operates by reason of a fundament, a sign represents by 
reason of a fundament. And this follows from the fact 
that the rationale of object or of a thing which can be 
represented is in a sign first in respect of itself; for it ob- 
jectifies itself to the cognitive power, and insofar as it is 
an object it directly respects the power as measure of the 
power. All of which is not the genus of sign; for a sign 
more principally respects the signif icate to which it subor- 
dinates the very rationale of representing. Whence a sign 
begins to consist in a substitutive relation to a signified; 
a representative, however, as connecting itself substitu- 
tively with a signified, founds that relation, and that 45 
connection is the substitution fundamentally. 

To the first part of the confirmation 43 , the response 
is that awareness and a concept have the rationale of 




mune ad signum ad placitum et natur- 
ale; nulla autem relatio utrique commu- 
nis est nisi relatio abstrahens a reali et 
rationis, in sententia affirmante, quod re- 
latio signi naturalis est realis. Relatio 
autem signi est magis determinata et 
contracta quam ilia, quae abstrahit a reali 
et rationis. Ergo signum in communi non 
dicit relationem secundum esse; deberet 
enim poni in aliquo membro determi- 
nate, vel reali vel rationis. 

RESPONDETUR, 42 quod repraesentati- 
vum non est genus signi, sed fundamen- 
tum, sicut generativum non est genus 
paternitatis, sed fundamentum; nee re- 
praesentativum tantum, sic enim solum 
remote se habet ad signum fundandum, 
sed repraesentativum tale, id est substi- 
tuens pro signato eique subordinatum in 
repraesentando et ducendo ad potenti- 
am. Et ponitur in definitione signi sicut 
fundamentum, quod pertinet ad relatio- 
nem; dependet enim essentialiter a fun- 
damento. Et si relatio sit alicuius causae 
vel effectus vel exercitii, totum ipsum ex- 
ercitium fit per fundamentum; relatio 
enim aliud exercitium non habet quam 
respicere, si sit relatio secundum esse, 
sicut pater ratione fundamenti generat, 
dominus ratione fundamenti imperat, 
minister ratione fundamenti substituit 
et operatur, signum ratione fundamenti 
repraesentat. Et constat hoc, quia ratio 
obiecti seu repraesentabilis in signo pri- 
mum est respectu sui; se enim obicit po- 
tentiae, et in quantum obiectum directe 
respicit potentiam ut mensura eiusdem. 
Quod totum non est genus signi; signum 
enim principalius respicit signatum, cui 
subordinat rationem ipsam repraesen- 
tandi. Unde in relatione substitutiva ad 
signatum incipit consistere; repraesen- 
tativum autem, ut connectens se substi- 
tutive cum signato, fundat illam relatio- 
nem, et ilia connexio est substitutio fun- 

Ad confirmationem 43 responde- 
tur, quod notitia et conceptus habent ra- 

42 131/19-43. 

43 132/47-133/12. 


[654b44-655a47] 133 

a quality as they are an act or an image of an object, upon 
which likeness is founded the relation of the formal sign, 
in which relation the sign essentially consists, insofar as it 
is through it that awareness and concepts substitute for an 
object. 44 Just as the sacramental character is called by St. 
Thomas (in the passages cited above) a sign fundamental- 
ly, since in itself it is a quality, yet a quality founding a sign- 
relation: so a concept and an awareness are qualities which 
signify informatively, not objectively, but they found the 
relation constitutive of a formal sign, that is, the relation of 
the sign whose representation and exercise of signifying is 
brought about by the fact that it is informing. 

And to the other part of the confirmation 45 the response 
is that sign in general bespeaks a relation more determinate 
than relation in general, whether a sign is a transcendental 
relation or an ontological relation. For that argument 46 bears 
on a point which every position [i.e., any theory of signs] 
must give an account of, to wit, how is it that the sign in 
general is a determinate kind of being and inferior to being 
as such, and yet is divided into the mind-independent or 
physical and the mind-dependent or purely objective? In- 
deed, even if a sign is a transcendental relation, in the case 
of a natural sign that relation will be mind-independent and 
in the case of a stipulated sign mind-dependent. This part 
of the argument, therefore, does not offer any special dif- 
ficulty for our assertion that the sign-relation is ontological, 
that is, a relation according to the way relation has being. 
Wherefore it must be said that there is nothing to prevent 
inferior [less universal] things from being clothed in an 
analogous concept and divided in a manner analogical to, 
although more restricted than, superior [more universal] 
things. And according as analogues of a more restricted 
analogy are referred to a more universal analogous concept, 
they are not placed under a determinate and univocal 
member of a division of the more universal analogy, but 
relate analogously both among themselves in the restricted 
analogy and to the members of the more universal analogy. 
A familiar example is in this name "wisdom." For wisdom 
is a concept more determinate than being, and yet it is 
neither created nor uncreated determinately, but can be 
divided into both, because it can be understood analogical- 
ly. But if "wisdom" were understood univocally, then it will 
be determinately created or determinately uncreated. In the 
same way, the name "man," if likewise understood as it 
abstracts from the differences between a true man and a pic- 
tured man, a living man and a dead man, is something in- 
ferior to [less universal than] being, but not in a determinate 

tionem qualitatis, ut sunt actus vel ima- 
go obiecti, super quod fundatur relatio 
signi formalis, in qua essentialiter sig- 
num consistit, quatenus sic substituunt 

5 pro obiecto. 44 Sicut character dicitur a 
Divo Thoma locis supra citatis signum 
fundamentaliter, cum in se qualitas sit, 
fundans tamen relationem signi: sic con- 
ceptus et notitia qualitates sunt infor- 

w mative, non obiective significantes, fun- 
dant autem relationem signi formalis, id 
est cuius repraesentatio et exercitium 
significandi informando fit. 

Et ad alteram partem argumenti 45 re- 

25 spondetur, quod signum in communi 
dicit relationem magis determinatam 
quam relatio in communi, sive transcen- 
dentalis sit sive relatio secundum esse. 
Nam illud argumentum 46 in omni opin- 

20 ione currit, quomodo scilicet signum in 
communi sit ens determinatum et infer- 
ius ad ens ut sic, et tamen dividatur in 
reale et rationis; siquidem si relatio trans- 
cendentalis est, in signo naturali realis 

25 erit et in signo ad placitum rationis. Non 
ergo specialem dtfficultatem affert con- 
tra nostram assertionem de relatione sig- 
ni secundum esse. Quare dicendum est 
nullum esse inconveniens, quod res in- 

30 feriores induant conceptum analogum et 
dividantur modo analogico sicut super- 
iora, licet magis restricto. Et prout sub- 
sunt conceptui analogo, non ponuntur 
sub determinate et univoco membro di- 

35 visionis superioris, sed ad utrumque 
analogice pertinent. Exemplum vulgare 
est in hoc nomine ,,Sapientia". Est enim 
conceptus magis determinatus quam 
ens, et tamen nee est determinate creata 

40 nee increata, sed potest dividi in utram- 
que, quia potest sumi analogice. Si vero 
sumatur univoca sapientia, sic erit deter- 
minate creata vel determinate increata. 
Eodem modo homo, si sumatur etiam ut 

45 abstrahit a vero et picto, vivo et mortuo, 
aliquid inferius est ad ens, sed non in 
determinate membro, quia analogice 

44 See Question 3 below, 164/13-165/8, and the Sequel to Book I, 219/29-48. 

45 132/1-15. 

46 at ibid. 

134 [655a47-b7] 


member of some division of being, because it is understood 
analogically, and consequently not as determinately one nor 
determinately in one member. Thus the state of being a sign, 
as something common to the natural and the stipulated, is 
analogous, just as if it were common to a true sign and a 
pictured sign, a mind-independent sign and a mind-depen- 
dent sign, and, accordingly, the sign as such is not in a deter- 
minate division of being or of relation, but each of its in- 
feriors, i.e., each of its particular instances, will be in a deter- 
minate order or class according to its kind. 47 

sumitur, et consequenter non ut de- 
terminate unum nee determinate in 
uno membro. Sic signum ut com- 
mune ad naturale et ad placitum est 
analogum veluti ad signum verum et 
pictum, reale et rationis, et prout sic 
non est in determinato membro entis 
vel relationis, sed quodlibet suorum 
inferiorum secundum se erit in deter- 
minato genere. 47 

47 Cf. Book II, Question 1, 235/46-236/46. 



Whether the Sign-Relation in the Case of Natural Signs 
Is Mind-Independent or Mind-Dependent 


Utrum in Signo Naturali Relatio 
Sit Realis vel Rationis 

To get to the point of difficulty, it is necessary 
to distinguish the several relations which can con- 
cur in a sign. There is no doubt that some of these 
relations could exist in a natural sign independently 
of mind, yet they are not the formal and definitive 
relation of sign. A sign by its definition is "that which 
represents something to a knowing power." If the sign 
is outside the cognitive power, in order to represent 
another it must have in itself the rationale of an ob- 
ject knowable in itself, so that the cognitive power 
might arrive at another by knowing the sign. 1 If, on 
the other hand, the sign is a formal sign and within 
the povver, in order to represent another it must be 
an intentional representation independent of being 
itself known objectively, which in the physical order 
is a kind of quality, yet one with a relation of similitude 
to that of which it is a representation, and with an order 
to the power. 2 

Similarly, for a sign to be said to represent this 
rather than that, there has to be in it some con- 
gruence or proportion and connection with the given 
sigmficate. This proportion or congruence can take 
several forms. Sometimes it is one of an effect to a 
cause or of cause to effect, as, for example, smoke 



Ut attingatur punctus difficultatis, opor- 
tet discernere plures relationes, quae in 
signo concurrere possunt. Et de aliquibus 
non est dubium, quod in signo naturali 
possint esse reales, non tamen illae sunt ip- 
sa formalis et quidditativa relatio signi. 
Cum enim signum iuxta suam definitionem 
dicatur id, quod repraesentat aliquid po- 
tentiae cognoscenti, oportet, quod in sig- 
no, ut repraesentet aliud, si sit signum 
extra potentiam, habeat rationem obiecti 
cognoscibilis in se, ut eo cognito ad aliud 
potentia deveniat; 1 si vero sit signum for- 
male et intra potentia, quod sit realis et 
intentionalis repraesentatio, quae in re 
qualitas quaedam est, cum relatione tamen 
similitudinis ad id, cuius est repraesentatio, 
et ordine ad potentiam. 2 

Similiter habet inveniri in signo aliqua 
convenientia seu proportio et connexio cum 
tali signif icato, ut dicatur repraesentare hoc 
potius quam illud. Quae proportio seu con- 
venientia varia est. Aliquando enim est ef- 
fectus ad causam vel causae ad effectum, 

1 See Question 3 below, 163/12-36, esp. note 11; Book II, Question 1, 224/13-19, and Question 
2, note 27, p. 249, citation from Poinsot's Phil. nat. 4 p. q. 11, art. 2. 

2 See above, Question 1, 132/47-134/10; and below, Book II, Question 1, 227/9-49, 231/45-233/2, 
Question 2, 250/7-39. 

136 [655b42-656bll] 


as an effect signifies fire, clouds or wind as a cause signify 
rain. Sometimes it is one of similitude or of an image or 
of whatever other proportion. But in the case of stipu- 
lated signs, it is the imposition and appointment, the ac- 
ceptance, by common usage. In a word: since a sign func- 
tions relative to a significate and to a cognitive power, 
the respects or rationales which habilitate it to the power 
or those which habilitate it to the signified can precede 
the forming of the rationale of a sign. But the formal and 
definitive rationale of a sign does not consist in these, 
nor does its relation to the thing signified (although 
the Jesuit school of Aristotelian commentary associated 
with the university of Coimbra, Portugal, the so-called 
"Conimbricenses," holds the opposite opinion in Book 
I, q. 1, art. 2 of their Commentary on the Perihermenias 
books), since indeed they can be separated and found 
apart from the rationale of a sign. For the rationale of an 
object is found without the rationale of a sign; and the 
rationale of an effect or cause or similitude or image can 
also be found apart from the rationale of a sign. Again 
because a relation to some thing bespeaks diverse fun- 
daments and formal rationales, as, for example: the rela- 
tion to an effect or a cause, which is founded on an ac- 
tion; or the relation of an image, which is founded on 
a similarity of imitation without an order to a cognitive 
power; or the relation of a sign, which is founded on the 
measured's being relative to its measure in the mode of 
a representative substituting for another in an order to a 
cognitive power, which the other relations do not respect. 
We ask, therefore, whether that formal and most prop- 
er sign-relation, which is found in addition to or as aris- 
ing from all those involved in the habilitation of a sign 
to its significate or to a cognitive power, is a mind- 
independent relation in the case of physical or natural 
signs. And we certainly acknowledge that the relation 
of object to power, which precedes the sign-relation in 
the case of the instrumental sign, whether by way of 
stimulating or of terminating, is not a mind-independent 
relation, because an object does not respect a power by 
a relation that is mind-independent according to the way 
it has being, but rather the power respects the object and 
depends upon and is specified by it. And supposing that 
the relation of object to power were mind-independent, 
and that the object reciprocally respects the power in 
just the way that the power respects the object (which 
is certainly an assumption contrary to fact, since the 
object is the measure and the power the measured), 
this relation still would not be the relation nor the ra- 
tionale of the sign, because the rationale of an object for- 
mally and directly respects or is respected by the power 
in such a way that the respect between the two is im- 

sicut fumus signif icat ignem ut effectus, 
nubes vel ventus significat pluviam ut 
causa. Aliquando est similitudinis vel i- 
maginis vel cuiuscumque alterius pro- 

5 portionis; in signis autem ad placitum 
est impositio et destinatio a republica. Et 
unico verbo: Cum signum se habeat ad 
signatum et ad potentiam, possunt prae- 
cedere ad construendam rationem signi 

w vel respectus seu rationes, quae habili- 
tent ipsum ad potentiam vel ad signa- 
tum. Sed in istis non consistit formalis 
et quidditativa ratio signi nee relatio eius 
ad rem significatam, licet oppositum sen- 
is tiant Conimbric. 1. Periherm. q. 1. art. 
2.; siquidem possunt separari et inveniri 
sine ratione signi. Nam ratio obiecti sine 
ratione signi invenitur, ratio etiam effec- 
tus vel causae vel similitudinis aut ima- 

20 ginis sine ratione signi possunt reperiri. 
Item quia diversum fundamentum et ra- 
tionem formalem dicit relatio ad rem ali- 
quam, ut ad eff ectum vel causam, quod 
fundatur in actione, vel imaginis, quod 

25 fundatur in similitudine imitationis sine 
ordine ad potentiam, vel signi, quod 
fundatur in mensurato ad mensuram per 
modum repraesentativi substituentis pro 
alio in ordine ad potentiam, quam non 

30 respiciunt aliae relationes. 

QUAERIMUS ERGO, an ilia formalis et 
propriissima relatio signi, quae praeter 
istas omnes reperitur aut ex illis consur- 
git, realis relatio sit in signis realibus 

35 vel naturalibus. Et quidem fatemur, 
quod relatio obiecti ad potentiam, quae 
praecedit in signo instrumentali sive per 
modum moventis sive terminantis, realis 
relatio non est, quia obiectum non res- 

40 picit potentiam relatione reali secun- 
dum esse, sed potius potentia respicit 
obiectum et ab eo dependet et specifi- 
catur. Et dato, quod relatio obiecti ad 
potentiam realis esset, et mutuo respice- 

45 ret obiectum potentiam, sicut potentia 
obiectum (quod constat esse falsum, cum 
obiectum sit mensura et potentia men- 
suratum), tamen non est relatio neque 
ratio signi, quia ratio obiecti formaliter 

so et directe respicit vel respicitur a poten- 
tia ita, quod immediatus respectus est 


[656bll-37] 137 

mediate; but the rationale of a sign directly respects a 
signified and a power indirectly, because it respects the 
thing signified as that which is to be manifested to a cogni- 
tive power. 3 Therefore there is a different line and order 
of respecting in an object inasmuch as it is an object, and 
in a sign inasmuch as it is a sign, although for it to be 
a sign, an object must be supposed. 4 

I answer the question before us therefore by saying: 
The relation of a natural sign to its signif icate by which 
the sign is constituted in being as a sign, is mind- 
independent and not mind-dependent, considered in 
itself and by virtue of its fundament and presupposing 
the existence of the terminus and the other conditions 
for a mind-independent or physical relation. 

This seems to be the view more in conformity with 
THE THINKING OF ST. THOMAS, principally because he 
teaches that the sign-relation in the sacramental character 
is founded on a quality superadded to the soul, which 
quality is a physical fundament, as is clear from the Summa 
theologica, III, q. 63, art. 2, reply to obj. 3, and in the Com- 
mentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book IV, dist. 
4, q. 1, art. I. 5 And he is speaking of the proximate fun- 
dament, because he opposes those who have said that 
this relation is founded immediately upon the soul, and 

inter ipsa; ratio autem signi directe res- 
picit signatum et in obliquo potentia, 
quia respicit signatum ut manifestandum 
potentiae. 3 Diversa ergo linea et ordo 

5 respiciendi est in obiecto quatenus obiec- 
tum, et in signo quatenus signum, licet 
ut signum sit, obiectum supponi de- 
beat. 4 


w signi naturalis ad suum signatum, qua 
constituitur in esse signi, realis est, et 
non rationis, quantum est ex se et vi sui 
fundamenti et supponendo existentiam 
termini ceterasque conditiones relatio- 

15 nis realis. 

Haec videtur conformior menti S. 
Thomae. Primo, quia docet relationem 
signi characteris fundari in qualitate 
superaddita animae, quae reale funda- 

20 mentum est, ut patet 3. p. q. 63. art. 2. 
ad 3. et in 4. dist. 4. q. 1. art. I. 5 Et lo 
quitur de fundamento proximo, quia im- 
pugnat eos, qui dicebant fundari hanc 
relationem immediate super animam, et 

3 The Lyons text of 1663 adds: "Unde distinctio et varietas signorum non sumitur ex ordine ad 
potentiam vel ex diverse modo immutandi illam sicut obiectum, sed ex diversitate rei significatae. Licet 
enim eodem modo immutet potentiam vestigium bovis et fumus, tamen differunt in ratione signi propter 
diversum respectum ad signatum, non ad potentiam." "Whence the distinction and variety of signs 
is not taken from the order to a power or from diverse ways of affecting that power as an object, 
but from a diversity of the thing signified. For even though a cow's footprint and smoke affect 
a cognitive power in the same way, they nevertheless differ in the rationale of sign on account 
of diverse respects to the signified, not to the power." Cf. this Question below, 145/10-28; and 
Book II, Question 1, 238/28-45. 

4 The Lyons text of 1663 adds: "Similiter relationes illae, quibus signum proportionare potest ad 
signatum, diversae sunt formaliter a relatione ipsa signi, e.g. relatio effectus vel causae, similitudinis vel 
imaginis etc., licet aliqui recentes confundant relationem signi cum istis relationibus, sed immerito: turn 
quia diversum exercitium est in signo significare vel causari aut similem esse. In significando enim ex- 
ercetur substitutio principalis signati, ut manifestetur potentiae, in ratione vero causae aut effectus nihil 
de ordine ad potentiam includitur; quare distincta fundamenta sunt, et sic distinctas relationes postulant. 
Et praeterea separari possunt relationes istae a relatione signi, sicut filius est similis patri et effectus eius 
et imago, non tamen signum. Addit ergo relatio signi super illas relationes, quas supponit aut praere- 
quirit, ut habilitetur et proportionetur huic signato potius quam ////.""Similarly, those relations by 
which a sign can be proportioned to a signified are formally other than the sign-relation itself, 
e.g., the relation of effect to cause, of similitude or image, etc., even though some recent authors 
confound the sign-relation with these relations, but unwarrantably: because to signify or to be 
caused or to be similar are diverse exercises in a sign. For in signifying, a substitution for the 
principal significate is exercised, that that principal may be manifested to a power, but in the 
rationale of a cause or an effect is included nothing of an order to a cognitive power; wherefore 
they are distinct fundaments, and so postulate distinct relations. These relations, moreover, can 
be separated from the sign-relation, just as a son is similar to the father and his effect and im- 
age, but not a sign. The sign-relation therefore adds to these relations, which it supposes or 
prerequires in order to be habilitated and proportioned to this significate rather than to that 
one." See Book I, Question 3 below, 160/10-21, and the discussion in note 13 of that same Ques- 
tion, pp. 163-164. 

5 Pa VII. 506 a. 

138 [656b37-657b4] 


he teaches that there must be something else to mediate, 
upon which the sign-relation of the sacramental character 
is founded, namely, the quality of the character; he is 
speaking therefore of the proximate fundament. And in 
the Summa theologica, I, q. 16, art. 6, he says that while 
health does not reside in urine and in medicine, "there 
is nevertheless something in both, on account of which 
the latter indeed produces and the former signifies 
health." Therefore the sign-relation in the case of a 
natural sign is founded on something independent of 
mind, some physical characteristic or quality of the sort 
that founds the relation of urine to health, namely, some- 
thing that possesses intrinsically the power of signify- 
ing, just as medicine possesses intrinsically the power 
of effecting health. 

the very nature and definable structure of the sign, which 
consists in this, that it be something more known by 
which is represented and manifested something more 
unknown, as St. Thomas well notes in his Disputed Ques- 
tions on Truth, q. 9, art. 4, reply to obj. 5, 6 and in his Com- 
mentary on the Sentences, Book IV, dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1, 
quaestiunc. 1, reply to obj. 5, and quaestiunc. 2. 7 But for 
something to be more known than another and render 
that other knowable and representable, it is required that 
the knowability of the former should be more capable 
of arousing or stimulating a cognitive power, and deter- 
mined or conditioned to the specific significate, in order 
that it should arouse [the power] to [an awareness of] 
that significate rather than some other one, whether this 
arousal and representation comes about formally or 
objectively. But that a thing is knowable in itself can- 
not be something produced by the mind; and that it is 
more knowable relatively to another and renders that 
other represented, is also something mind-independent 
in the case of natural signs. Therefore the sign-relation 
in the case of a natural sign is mind-independent. 

The minor premise here has two parts, to wit, that 
a thing in itself is knowable independently of mind, and 
also that relatively to another it renders that other 
represented and knowable independently of mind. 

The first part of the minor premise is proved by the 
fact that a thing is knowable prior to any operation of 
the understanding. For if it were rendered knowable by 
the operation of the understanding, it would be know- 
able through being known and so would not be know- 
able prior to cognition, which contradicts the fact that 
cognition in us is taken from what is knowable; but 

docet debere mediare aliud, super quod 
fundetur relatio characteristici signi, scili- 
cet qualitatem characteris; loquitur ergo 
de fundamento proximo. Et 1. p. q. 16. 

5 art. 6. dicit, quod licet in urina et medi- 
cina non sit sanitas, est tamen aliquid 
in utroque, per quod hoc quidem facit, 
illud vero significat sanitatem. Ergo 
in aliquo reali fundatur relatio signi na- 

w turalis, qualis est urinae ad sanitatem, 
nempe in aliquo, quod habet in se, ut 
significet, sicut medicina habet, ut ef- 

ET FUNDAMENTUM conclusionis dedu- 

15 citur ex ipsa natura et quidditate signi, 
quae in eo consistit, quod sit aliquid ma- 
gis notum, quo repraesentetur et mani- 
festetur ignotius, ut bene notat S. Tho- 
mas q. 9. de Veritate art. 4. ad 5. 6 et in 

20 4. dist. 1. q. 1. art. 1. quaestiunc. 1. ad 5., 
quaestiunc. 2. 7 Ad hoc autem, quod ali- 
quid sit notius altero illudque reddat 
cognoscibile et repraesentabile, requir- 
itur, quod cognoscibilitas istius sit 

25 habilior altera ad movendum potentiam, 
et determinata seu affecta ad tale signa- 
tum, ut ad illud potius moveat quam ad 
aliud, sive ista motio et repraesentatio 
fiat formaliter sive obiective. Sed quod 

30 aliquid in seipso sit cognoscibile, non 
potest esse aliquid rationis; quod vero 
relate ad alterum sit cognoscibilius et 
reddens ipsum repraesentatum, aliquid 
etiam reale est in signis naturalibus. Ergo 

35 relatio signi naturalis realis est. 

Minor habet duas partes, scil. quod 
res in seipsa sit cognoscibilis realiter, et 
quod etiam relate ad alterum reddat 
realiter aliud repraesentatum et cognos- 

40 cibile. 

Et quoad primam partem probatur, quia 
ante omnern operationem intellectus res 
est cognoscibilis. Si enim per opera- 
tionem intellectus cognoscibilis red- 

45 deretur, esset cognoscibilis per esse 
cognitum, et sic non esset cognoscibilis 
ante cognitionem, quod repugnat, quia 
cognitio sumitur in nobis a cognoscibili, 

6 Pa IX. 151 b. 

7 Pa VII. 455 b. 


[657b4-658all] 139 

if the knowable is rendered such by the mind or by 
knowledge, then knowledge is prior to knowability, and 
consequently knowledge is not taken from knowability 
as from an object. 

Nor does it matter that the cognizable or the object 
does not respect the cognitive power by a mind-inde- 
pendent relation, but by a mind-dependent relation, 
because the very mind-independence of knowability is 
proven the more strongly by this fact. For it is because 
the power depends on the object, and not the object on 
the power, that the object respects the power by a mind- 
dependent relation; and the object exists as measure, the 
power, however, as measured, which pertains to rela- 
tions of the third type 8 in which the measured is depen- 
dent and therefore respects physically, but the measure 
does not depend on the measured and so respects it on- 
ly through the mind. But nevertheless this fact itself 
argues for the greater reality in the very rationale of 
measure, inasmuch as it is the less dependent and con- 
sequently the less reality is in [its] relation [to the 
measured] just as, for example, the fact that God is a lord 
relatively is something mental, but potestatively it is 
something physical. And similarly a free act is physical- 
ly free in God and by a much greater independence of 
our mind, because only by our mind is it referred to the 
free object, while physically it does not depend on it. 
Therefore the knowable in physical objects is absolutely 
and in itself something mind-independent, but relative- 
ly to a cognitive power it is something mind-dependent. 
But that knowability is greater or more manifest in one 
thing than in another, is not taken from the mind-de- 
pendent relation to a power, which is found in every ob- 
ject, but from the greater force and efficacy of arousing 
or stimulating and manifesting, which in itself is some- 
thing independent of mind. 

The second part of the minor premise 9 is shown by 
the fact that although the knowable is something mind- 
dependent in its order to a power, nevertheless it is in 
itself something mind-independently knowable. There- 
fore, in order for a natural sign to be knowable not only 
in itself and with respect to itself, but also with respect 
to another in whose capacity it functions and for which 
it substitutes in knowability and presentation, a relation 
must intervene independently of mind. The consequence 
is clear from the fact that the substitutive relation in 
the case of natural signs is founded on the physical 
cognizability and mind-independent connection of the 
sign with a specific significate, in order that the sign 

si autem per rationem seu per cognitio- 
nem redditur cognoscibile, prior est cog- 
nitio quam cognoscibilitas, et consequen- 
ter ab ilia ut ab obiecto non sumitur. 

5 Neque obstat, quod cognoscibile seu 
obiectum non reali relatione respicit po- 
tentiam, sed relatione rationis, quia po- 
tius ex hoc realitas ipsa cognoscibilitatis 
probatur. Ideo enim respicit potentiam 

w relatione rationis, quia potentia pendet 
ab obiecto, non obiectum a potentia; et 
se habet obiectum ut mensura, potentia 
autem ut mensuratum, quod pertinet ad 
relationes tertii ordinis, 8 in quibus men- 
is suratum est dependens ideoque realiter 
respicit, mensura vero non pendet a 
mensurato et sic solum per rationem 
respicit illud. Sed tamen hoc ipsum 
arguit maiorem realitatem in ipsa ratione 

20 mensurae, quanto est minus dependens 
et consequenter minor realitas est in rela- 
tione, sicut Deum esse dominum rela- 
tive est aliquid rationis, sed potestative 
est aliquid reale. Et similiter actus liber 

25 realiter est liber in Deo et multo maiori 
realitati, quia solum per rationem refer- 
tur ad obiectum liberum, realiter autem 
ab eo non pendet. Sic ergo cognoscibile 
in obiectis realibus absolute et in se ali- 

30 quid reale est, sed relative ad potentiam 
aliquid rationis. Quod autem cognosci- 
bilitas in uno sit maior aut manifestior 
altera, non, sumitur ex relatione rationis 
ad potentiam, quae in omni obiecto in- 

35 venitur, sed ex maiori vi et efficacia mo- 
vendi et manifestandi, quae in se aliquid 
reale est. 

Secunda vero pars illius minoris 9 osten- 
ditur, quia licet cognoscibile per ordinem 

40 ad potentiam sit aliquid rationis, tamen 
in se realiter cognoscibile est. Ergo ut 
non solum sit cognoscibile in se et res- 
pectu sui, sed etiam respectu alterius, 
cuius vices gerit et pro quo substituit in 

45 cognoscibilitate et praesentatione, realis 
relatio intercedet. Patet consequentia, 
quia fundatur in cognoscibilitate reali et 
connexione reali ipsius cum hoc signifi- 

8 Explained in the Second Preamble above, Article 3, esp. 101/27-102/34, 105/15-109/34. 

9 138/40-41. 

140 [658all-bl7] 


should represent that significate; the relation is not 
founded on a connection with a cognitive power. There- 
fore a natural sign will be a substitute for that specific 
thing and will respect it as the thing signified by a 
mind-independent relation, although such knowabili- 
ty does not respect a cognitive power independently 
of mind. For the fact that smoke represents fire rather 
than water, that the footprint of an ox represents an 
ox rather than a man, and that the concept of a horse 
represents a horse rather than a stone, is founded on 
some mind-independent or physical and intrinsic pro- 
portion of those signs with these significates; from 
a mind-independent proportion and connection with 
something, however, arises a mind-independent rela- 
tion. Whence it happens that some thinkers are very 
much deluded on this point, who, upon seeing that the 
knowability or apprehensibility of a sign founds the 
sign-relation, and that this apprehensibility is a mind- 
dependent relation to a cognitive power, suppose 
without discussion that the very rationale of a sign is 
simply a mind-dependent relation. They are greatly 
deceived in this. The relation of knowability to a 
cognitive power precedes and is presupposed for the ra- 
tionale of a sign: for it pertains to the rationale com- 
mon to any object or cognizable thing. But for the ra- 
tionale of a sign it is further required that the knowability 
of the sign be connected and coordinated with another, 
that is, a thing signified, so that the sign substitutes for 
and is subordinated and servile to that thing in bring- 
ing it to mind. And thus the relation of this knowabili- 
ty of the sign to that of the significate will also be an 
essentially mind-independent relation, because it is 
founded on the proportion and greater connection 
which this knowability has relative to that knowability 
rather than to some other, so that the sign can substitute 
for that knowability and be vicegerent, and this is given 
on the side of physical nature, as is also the exercise 
of representing to the cognitive power, even though the 
order and relation to the cognitive power is not mind- 
independent; for whether the relation of object to power 
is mind-independent is one question, [but] whether a 
representation is mind-independent is quite another 
question again. 

Whence St. Thomas says in his Disputed Questions on 
Truth, q. 3, art. 1, reply to obj. 2, 10 that "for a specifying 
form which is a medium [of awareness], two things are 
required, namely, a representation of the known thing, 
which belongs to the specifier according to propinquity 
to the cognizable, and a spiritual existence, which belongs 

cato, ut illud repraesentet, non in con- 
nexione cum potentia. Ergo reali relatio- 
ne erit substitutum illius et respiciet il- 
lud ut signatum, licet potentiam talis 

5 cognoscibilitas non respiciat realiter. 
Nam quod fumus repraesentet potius ig- 
nem quam aquam, et vestigium bovis 
potius bovem quam hominem, et con- 
ceptus equi potius equum quam lapi- 

w dem, in aliqua reali proportione et intrin- 
seca istorum signorum cum illis signatis 
fundatur; ex reali autem proportione et 
connexione cum aliquo realis relatio in- 
nascitur. Unde contingit hie maxirne hal- 

15 lucinari aliquos, qui sine discussione, 
cum videant cognoscibilitatem seu ap- 
prehensibilitatem signi fundare rela- 
tionem signi, et haec apprehensibilitas 
est relatio rationis ad potentiam, sim- 

20 pliciter ipsam rationem signi relationem 
esse rationis putant. Ceterum in hoc 
valde falluntur, quia relatio cognosci- 
bilitatis ad potentiam praecedit et prae- 
supponitur ad rationem signi: pertinet 

25 enim ad communem rationem obiecti 
seu cognoscibilis. Sed ulterius ad ratio- 
nem signi requiritur, quod cognoscibil- 
itas signi connectatur et coordinetur al- 
teri, id est signato, ita ut substituat pro 

30 eo et subordinetur ac serviat ei in de- 
ferendo ipsum ad potentiam. Et ita rela- 
tio huius cognoscibilitatis signi ad illam 
signati erit relatio realis et per se, quia 
fundatur in proportione et maiori con- 

35 nexione, quam habet haec cognoscibili- 
tas ad illam, quam ad aliam, ita ut pro 
ilia possit substituere et vices gerere, et 
hoc a parte rei datur, et exercitium re- 
praesentandi potentiae etiam a parte rei 

40 datur, licet ordo et relatio ad potentiam 
realis non sit; aliud est enim relatio ob- 
iecti ad potentiam an realis sit, aliud an 
repraesentatio realis sit. 

Unde D. Thomas q. 3. de Veritate art. 

45 1. ad 2. 10 inquit, quod ad speciem, quae 
est medium, requiruntur duo, scilicet re- 
praesentatio rei cognitae, quae competit 
ei secundum propinquitatem ad cognos- 
cibile, et esse spirituale, quod competit 

10 Pa IX. 54 a. 


[658bl7-659a22] 141 

to the specifier according to the being that it has in one 
cognizing." I am weighing here particularly these words: 
"representation, which belongs to a specifying form ac- 
cording to propinquity, etc." Therefore a representation 
in the case of a natural sign is founded in the propin- 
quity of the sign to the knowable object for which it 
substitutes and in respect of which it is a medium or 
means. But this propinquity will be a mind-independent 
relation in the case of those things which are propor- 
tioned and linked independently of mind, because it has 
in that case a mind-independent fundament. 

You may gather from what has been said that even in 
the case of stipulated signs the rationale of sign must be 
explained by a relation to a signified. But the relation 
in this case is mind-dependent, yet the sign does not con- 
sist only in the extrinsic denomination whereby it is ren- 
dered imposed or appointed for signifying by common 
usage, as some more recent philosophers" think, from 
the fact that, apart from the relation constructed by the 
understanding, the sign is denominated by the very im- 
position alone. Yet this imposition is indeed required as 
the fundament of the relation and rationale of the sign, 
because it is through this imposition that something is 
habilitated and appointed to be a stipulated sign, just 
as it is through some natural sign's being proportioned 
and connected with a given significate that there is foun- 
ded a relation of the sign to that significate. 

From that extrinsic denomination of stipulation and 
imposition, 12 thus, a twofold mind-dependent relation 
arises: The first is one common to every extrinsic de- 
nomination, insofar as an extrinsic denomination is con- 
ceived by the understanding on the pattern of a form 
and a denominating relation, as, for example, being seen 
is conceived relative to the one seeing, being loved 
relative to the one loving. The other is the particular rela- 
tion by which one denomination is distinguished from 
another. For there can be appointment and imposition 
by the community to various offices, which are not 
distinguished otherwise than by a relation to those func- 
tions for the exercise of which they are appointed, just 
as someone is appointed and installed as a judge, a presi- 
dent, a teacher, and other things are instituted to be signs 
or insignia of these offices, and similarly, linguistic ex- 
pressions are appointed to serve human communication. 
These offices or functions arise from a distinction of the 
requirements of public life, which is an extrinsic de- 

ei secundum esse, quod habet in cognos- 
cente. Ubi pondero ilia verba: reprae- 
sentatio, quae competit ei secundum pro- 
pinquitatem etc.. Ergo repraesentatio in 

5 signo naturali fundatur in propinquitate 
ipsius ad cognoscibile, pro quo substituit 
et respectu cuius est medium. Haec autem 
propinquitas in his, quae realiter propor- 
tionantur et coniunguntur, realis relatio 

w erit, cum reale fundamentum habeat. 

Ex DICTIS COLLIGES in signis ad pla- 
citum rationem signi etiam per relatio- 
nem ad signatum explicandam esse. Sed 
relatio ista rationis est, et non solum con- 
is sistit signum in extrinseca denominatione, 
qua redditur impositum seu destinatum 
a republica ad significandum, ut aliqui 
recentiores 11 putant, eo quod sine ilia fic- 
tione intellectus per solam ipsam imposi- 

20 tionem denominatur signum. Ceterum 
haec impositio requiritur quidem tam- 
quam fundamentum relationis et rationis 
signi, quia per illam habilitatur et des- 
tinatur aliquid, ut sit signum, sicut per 

25 hoc, quod proportionatur et connectitur 
aliquod signum naturale cum tali signato, 
fundat relationem signi ad ipsum. 

Itaque ex denominatione ilia extrinseca 
destinationis et impositionis 12 consurgit 

30 duplex relatio rationis: Primacom- 
munis omni extrinsecae denominationi, 
quatenus concipitur per intellectum ad 
modum formae et relationis denominan- 
tis, ut esse visum ad videntem, esse ama- 

35 turn ad amantem. Alia est relatio particu- 
laris, qua una denominatio distinguitur ab 
alia. Destinatio enim et impositio reipub- 
licae ad varia munera esse potest, quae 
non nisi relatione distinguuntur ad ea, ad 

40 quae exercenda destinantur, sicut desti- 
natur aliquis et instituitur, ut sit iudex, 
praeses, doctor, et aliqua, ut sint signa vel 
insignia horum munerum, et similiter 
voces destinantur, ut humanae conversa- 

45 tioni deserviant. Haec munera ex distinc- 
tione reipublicae oriuntur, quae denom- 

11 In particular, Suarez, De sacramentis, disp. 1, par. 6. See Book II below, Question 5, 

12 See the discussion of extrinsic denomination in the First Preamble above, esp. Article 1, 
55/7-49 and Article 2, 60/7-44. 

142 [659a22-b33] 


nomination. They are further distinguished because a 
judge is ordered to judging a certain population, a presi- 
dent to governing, a teacher to instructing, etc.: which 
distinctions are understood through an order to their of- 
fices, or to the objects concerning which they are exer- 
cised, and they are not explained in any other way than 
through relations; therefore they are distinguished by the 
relations to their offices and objects. The same therefore 
must be said of stipulated signs, even though they are 
founded by the extrinsic denomination of imposition. 
And when the relation ceases, these signs are said to re- 
main fundamentally, inasmuch as that appointment of 
common usage is said to remain morally or virtually. 


Arguments for proving that the natural sign is some- 
thing mind-dependently relative can be developed in two 
ways: either from the aspect in which a sign respects a 
cognitive power, or from the aspect in which a sign 
respects a signified. 

The argument basedon the aspect of the sign 
which respects the power is a common one, but 
difficult to resolve: A sign respects a power by a mind- 
dependent relation. But this relation is intrinsic and 
essential to a sign, and indeed the more principal one. 
Therefore a natural sign does not consist precisely in a 
mind-independent or physical relation. 

The major premise in this argument is certain, be- 
cause between sign and power obtains an order of the same 
line and rationale as that which exists between object and 
power. For a sign is a kind of object or substitute for an 
object, and in this capacity it moves a power objectively, 
not effectively, and therefore respects the power in the 
same order as does an object. But it is certain that an ob- 
ject respects a power by a relation constructed by the mind, 
a mind-dependent relation, because there is not a reciprocal 
relation between power and object. Therefore from the side 
of the other extreme [i.e., the object] there is not a mind- 
independent relation; but not from the side of the power 
is the case that there no mind-independent relation [i.e., 
a relation obtaining without having to be itself part of the 
known object as such], because a power physically respects 
an object, therefore the relation between power and ob- 
ject will be mind-dependent from the side of the object. 
Now an instrumental sign in particular cannot manifest 
anything to a power except as it is known; to be known, 
however, is something mind-dependent. Therefore an in- 
strumental sign leads to a significate by means of some- 
thing mind-dependent, i.e., by means of a being known. 

The minor premise is proved: First, because 
a sign is an instrument which the cognitive power uses 

inatio extrinseca est. Ceterum distinguun- 
tur, quia iudex ordinatur ad tales subditos 
iudicandum, praeses ad regendum, doc- 
tor ad docendum etc.: quae distinctiones 

5 sumuntur per ordinem ad sua officia seu 
obiecta, circa quae exercentur, et nonnisi 
per relationes explicantur, et non aliter; 
ergo relationibus ad sua munera et obiecta 
distinguuntur. Idem ergo dicendum de 

w signis ad placitum, licet denominatione 
extrinseca impositionis fundentur. Et ces- 
sante relatione dicuntur manere ista fun- 
damentaliter, quatenus ilia destinatio rei- 
publicae moraliter dicitur manere aut 

is virtualiter. 


Ex DUPLICI CAPITE possunt fieri argu- 
menta ad probandum, quod signum na- 

20 turale sit relativum rationis: vel qua parte 
signum respicit potentiam, vel qua parte 
respicit signatum. 

Ex parte, qua respicit potentiam, 
argumentum est commune, sed difficile: 

25 Nam signum respicit potentiam relatione 
rationis. Sed haec relatio est illi intrinseca 
et essentialis, imo magis principalis. Ergo 
signum naturale non consistit praecise in 
relatione reali. 

so Maior est certa, quia inter signum et 
potentiam reperitur ordo eiusdem lineae 
et rationis, quae est inter obiectum et 
potentiam. Signum enim quoddam obiec- 
tum est seu substitutum obiecti, et ita 

35 movet obiective, non effective potentiam, 
atque adeo in eodem ordine cum obiecto 
respicit potentiam. Constat autem obiec- 
tum respicere potentiam relatione ratio- 
nis, quia non est relatio mutua inter po- 

40 tentiam et obiectum. Ergo ex parte alterius 
extremi non est relatio realis; sed non ex 
parte potentiae, quia haec realiter respicit 
obiectum, ergo erit rationis ex parte obiec- 
ti. Specialiter autem signum instrumentale 

45 non potest manifestare aliquid potentiae 
nisi prout cognitum; esse autem cognitum 
est aliquid rationis. Ergo signum instru- 
mentale mediante aliquo rationis, id est 
mediante esse cognitum ducit in signatum. 

so Minor vero probatur: Turn, quia sig- 
num est instrumentum, quo potentia uti- 


[659b33-660a37] 143 

in order to arrive at a thing signified. Second, because 
the end to which a sign is ordered is a manifestation 
of the signified to the power itself. Therefore the 
power itself, or rather, its cognition to which the sign 
leads, is the end principally intended by the sign, and 
therefore an order to a power is intrinsic and essen- 
tial to a sign. 

This reasoning is confirmed by the fact 
that a formal and an instrumental sign differ within 
the rationale of sign, as we will explain in Book II, 13 
yet they do not differ because of a diverse order to 
the signified, but to a cognitive power. For smoke as 
an instrumental sign and a concept [i.e., a formal sign] 
of fire respect the same thing signified, namely, fire; 
but smoke does so instrumentally, the concept for- 
mally. Therefore they differ from diverse orders to 
a knowing power, and so this order is essential to a 
sign, inasmuch as a formal sign respects a power as 
a form of cognition, an instrumental sign as an ex- 
ternal stimulus. 

The response to this argument 14 is that whether 
the order of sign to signified and to power is one rela- 
tion only or two (which will be our next question 15 ), 
in either case, precisely as it is a sign and under this 
formality, it does not respect a power directly and 
principally, nor does a sign respect a power as the 
power's measure, but as a way of access to, and as 
something leading a power to, that which is the 
power's object and is manifestable to the power, 
namely, a significate. Whence power and sign alike 
respect the signified as a manifestable object by which 
they are specified and measured the power indeed 
as capacity knowing and tending toward that 
significate, the sign as the way of access and means 
through which the power is so inclined. But the fact 
that a sign may also be an object and be known first 
as such so that through it the power might tend 
toward the significate, is not that which essentially 
constitutes a sign insofar as it is a sign; for a formal 
sign, without being an object known by the power, 
but being the form rendering the power actually 
knowing, manifests the signified to it. What pertains 
essentially to the rationale of a sign, therefore, is that 
it be something substituting for an object in the 
representing of that object to a cognitive power, which 
substitution bespeaks an actual subordination and 
relation to a signified as to the principal object. This 

tur ad deveniendum in signatum. Turn, 
quia finis, ad quem ordinatur signum, est 
manifestatio signati ad ipsam potentiam. 
Ergo ipsa potentia seu cognitio eius, ad 

5 quam signum ducit, est finis principaliter 

intentus a signo, atque adeo intrinsecus 

et essentialis est illi ordo ad potentiam. 

Et confirmatur, quia signum f or- 

male et instrumentale differunt in ratio- 

w ne signi, ut dicemus in Libro Secundo, 13 
et non differunt ex ordine ad signatum, 
sed ad potentiam. Idem enim signatum 
respicit fumus ut signum instrumentale, 
scilicet ignem, et conceptus ignis; sed 

is fumus instrumentaliter, conceptus formal- 
iter. Ergo differunt ex diverse ordine ad 
potentiam, et ita hie ordo essentialis est 
signo, quatenus signum formale respicit 
potentiam ut forma cognitionis, instru- 

20 mentale ut movens extrinsecum. 

RESPONDETUR, 14 quod sive ordo ad sig- 
natum et ad potentiam in signo sit unus 
tantum sive duplex, de quo quaest. 15 seq., 
tamen ut signum est et stando sub hac f or- 

25 malitate, non respicit potentiam directe et 
principaliter neque ut mensura eius, sed 
ut via et ductivum potentiae ad id, quod 
est obiectum eius et manifestable ipsi, 
sell, ad signatum. Unde tam potentia 

30 quam signum respiciunt signatum ut ob- 
iectum manifestable, a quo specificantur 
et mensurantur, potentia quidem ut vir- 
tus cognoscens et ad illud tendens, sig- 
num ut via et medium, per quod ad illud 

35 tenditur. Quod vero signum sit etiam 
obiectum et prius cognitum, ut per illud 
tendat potentia ad signatum, non est id, 
quod essentialiter constituit signum in 
quantum signum; nam signum formale 

40 sine hoc, quod sit obiectum cognitum a 
potentia, sed forma reddens cognoscen- 
tem potentiam, manifestat ei. Quod ergo 
pertinet per se ad rationem signi, est, 
quod sit substituens pro obiecto in re- 

45 praesentando ipsum potentiae, quae sub- 
stitutio realem subordinationem et rela- 
tionem dicit ad signatum ut ad principale 

13 In the original Latin: "art." 

14 to 142/21-27 

15 In the original Latin: "art." 

144 [660a37-b40] 


is the respect essential to and formally constitutive of 
the sign, even though indirectly a sign also attains a 
power, inasmuch as it respects a signified as mani- 
festable to [capable of being known by] a power. 

Wherefore the argument may be answered in form 
as follows: I distinguish the proposition that a sign 
respects a power by a mind-dependent relation: That 
a sign formally, insofar as it is a sign, respects a power 
by a relation direct and of measure to measured, I deny; 
that a sign respects a power presuppositively and as 
it is itself a kind of object, I let pass. 

To the proof of the major premise 16 it is said: I deny 
that a sign is in the line and order of an object prin- 
cipally and essentially and as an object is a measure; 
I grant that a sign is in the line and order of an object 
as something substituting for and vicegerent of an ob- 
ject. Whence a sign does not respect a cognitive power 
in the same way that an object does, but directly 
respects a manifestable object, and indirectly respects 
a power, just as a habit, for example, which is in the 
powers, respects the object by which it is specified 
directly, although in order to assist a power in respect 
of that object. Nor is the instrumental sign founded 
on being known as regards the rationale of the sign, 
but being known is required for the exercise as such 
of signifying, not for the instrumental sign to be con- 
stituted in the being of sign respecting an object as its 
substitute; for this the sign has prior to being known, 
because a sign does not consist in actual representa- 
tion, but in the power of representing. 

To the first proof of the minor premise 17 1 answer 
that a sign is said to be an instrument of a cognitive 
power in the same way that it is said to be an instru- 
ment of a signified and its substitute for manifesting 
itself to a power. For the sign is not an instrument of 
the power on the side of the elicitation of a cognitive 
act, as if the power elicits its act by means of the sign, 
but on the side of the representation of an object, 
inasmuch as an object is manifested by means of a sign, 
and so a sign is more principally subordinated to the 
object as to that for which it is substituted in represent- 
ing to a power. 

To the second proof of the minor 18 1 answer that 
the end of a sign is to manifest a significate to a cog- 
nitive power, yet out of a subordination to that very 
significate as to the principal for which the sign is sur- 
rogated and substituted in representing. However, that 

obiectum, et hie est respectus essentialis et 
formaliter constitutivus signi, licet in obli- 
quo etiam potentiam attingat, quatenus 
respicit signatum ut manifestabile poten- 

5 tiae. 

Quare ad argumentum in forma dicitur: 
Signum respicit potentiam relatione ratio- 
nis, distinguo: Formaliter, in quantum sig- 
num, relatione directa et mensurae ad men- 

w suratum, nego; praesuppositive et ut ob- 
iectum quoddam est, transeat. 

Et ad probationem 16 dicitur, quod sig- 
num est in linea et ordine obiecti prin- 
cipaliter et per se et ut mensura est, nego; 

35 ut substituens et vices gerens obiecti, con- 
cede. Unde non eodem modo, quo obiec- 
tum, respicit potentiam, sed directe obiec- 
tum manifestabile respicit, in obliquo 
potentiam, sicut etiam habitus, qui est in 

20 potentiis, respicit obiectum, a quo speci- 
ficatur directe, licet in ordine ad adiuvan- 
dum potentiam respectu illius. Nee signum 
instrumentale fundatur in esse cognito 
quantum ad rationem signi, sed esse cog- 

25 nitum requiritur ad ipsum exercitium 
significandi, non ut constituatur in esse 
signi respicientis obiectum ut subsitutum 
eius; hoc enim habet ante esse cognitum, 
quia signum non consistit in actuali reprae- 

30 sentatione, sed in potestate repraesentandi. 

Ad primam probationem minoris 17 re- 

spondetur signum dici instrumentum po- 

tentiae eo modo, quo est instrumentum 

signati et substitutum eius ad manifestan- 

35 dum se potentiae. Nee enim signum est in- 
strumentum potentiae ex parte elicientiae 
actus, quasi medio signo eliciat, sed ex 
parte repraesentationis obiecti, quatenus 
medio signo manifestatur obiectum, et sic 

40 principalius subordinatur obiecto tamquam 
ei, pro quo substituitur in repraesentando 

Ad secundam probationem 16 respondetur 
finem signi esse manifestare potentiae 

45 signatum, ex subordinatione tamen ad ip- 
sum signatum ut ad principale, pro quo 
subrogatur et substituitur in repraesen- 

16 142/28-49. 
17 142/50-143/1. 
18 143/1-7. 


[660b40-661a40] 145 

which, out of a subordination to and substitution for 
another, respects some end, more principally respects 
that for which it substitutes and surrogates than it does 
that in relation to which it stimulates, or the end toward 
which it tends, because this last it respects as an end- 5 
effect, whereas it respects that for which it is substituted 
as an end-for-the-sake-of-which; for it is out of the sub- 
ordination to the latter that it respects the former as its 

To the confirmation 19 1 answer that if the division of w 
signs into formal and instrumental is an essential divi- 
sion (which will be considered in the following Book 20 ), 
it is not taken from the order to a cognitive power precise- 
ly, but from diverse orders to a signified. 21 For diverse 
ways of affecting a power, as an object first known as 15 
such or as concept intrinsically informing, redound into 
diverse rationales of manifesting and representing a 
significate, because manifestation itself and representa- 
tion is a kind of movement. And thus the mode of affec- 
ting a power, which varies the movement, redounds to 20 
a variety of representations. But diverse representations 
respect a significate under diverse formalities or formal 
rationales of the representable, because representation 
and the representable must be proportioned, and vary 
in function of one another, and it is in this way that signs 25 
themselves are rendered formally diversified by reason 
of the signified and the representable, although materially 
they may be signs of the same thing signified. 

A second argument that a natural sign is some- 
thing mind-dependently relative can be developed by pro- 30 
ving that even from the aspect of sign as respecting a thing 
signified and in the order to that significate there is not 
a mind-independent relation. First, there are times 
when the thing signified does not exist, and yet a sign 
is no tess formally a sign in respect of it, because the 35 
sign in question represents that significate in act to 
the cognitive power in question, and at such times the 
relation to the nonexistent significate is not mind-in- 
dependent. Second, there are times when a natural 
sign represents some mind-dependent being, as, for ex- 40 
ample, the concept of the Chimera 22 or a statue and im- 
age of the mythical Chimera. T h i r d , a relation between 
a natural sign and its significate is not independent of 
mind, because a sign-relation differs from an image- 
relation only in this, that a sign touches the signified 45 

tando. Id autem, quod ex subordinatione 
ad aliud respicit aliquem finem et ex sub- 
stitutione pro ipso, principalius respicit 
id, pro quo substituit et subrogatur, 
quam id, ad quod movet, seu finem, ad 
quem tendit, quia hunc respicit ut finem 
effectum, id autem, pro quo substituitur, 
ut finem cuius gratia; ex subordinatione 
enim ad illud respicit talem effectum. 

Ad confirmationem 19 responde- 
tur divisionem signi in formale et in- 
strumentale, si est essentialis (de quo 
seq. liber 20 ), non sumi ex ordine ad po- 
tentiam praecise, sed ex diverse ordine 
ad signatum. 21 Diversus enim modus af- 
ficiendi potentiam, ut obiectum prius 
cognitum vel ut conceptus intrinsece 
informans, refunditur in diversam ra- 
tionem manifestandi et repraesentandi 
signatum, quia manifestatio ipsa et re- 
praesentatio quaedam motio est. Et sic 
modus afficiendi potentiam, qui variat 
motionem, refunditur in varietatem re- 
praesentationis. Diversa autem reprae- 
sentatio respicit signatum sub diversa 
formalitate seu ratione formali reprae- 
sentabilis, quia repraesentatio et reprae- 
sentabile proportionari debent, et uno 
variato variatur et aliud, et ita redditur 
diversificatum ipsum signum formaliter 
ratione signati et repraesentabilis, licet 
materialiter sit idem. 

Secundo arguitur probando, quod 
etiam ex parte signati et in ordine ad il- 
lud non sit realis relatio. Prime, quan- 
do signatum non existit, et tamen non 
minus formaliter est signum respectu il- 
lius, quia repraesentat illud actu ipsi 
potentiae, et tune relatio ad signatum 
non existehs non est realis. Secundo, 
quando signum repraesentat aliquod ens 
rationis, ut conceptus chimaerae 22 vel ef- 
figies et imago exterior illius. Tertio, 
quia relatio signi differt a relatione ima- 
ginis solum per hoc, quod signum tan- 

19 143/8-20. 

20 In the original Latin: "quaest." 

21 See below, Question 3, 163/12-36, Question 5, 202/19-22 along with 201/28-202/8; and Book 
II, Question 1, 229/24-38, 238/28-45 with 235/15-25. 

22 The "She-monster" in Greek mythology possessing the head of a lion, the body of a goat, 
and the tail of a serpent. 

146 [661a40-b41] 


as what is to be represented to the cognitive power, 
whereas an image (a likeness) respects an exemplar as 
something to be imitated by the image. But in a significate, 
this being representable to a cognitive power is not 
something mind-independent or physical, but something 
mind-dependent and mental, because a thing signified 
is not ordered to a knowing power by a physical ordina- 
tion and relation, but [is thus ordered] as something 
capable of being manifested, and so is like all other ob- 
jects, which do not respect the power by a mutual rela- 
tion. Therefore a sign is attained by a significate under 
a certain mind-dependent formality, and therefore not 
through a mind-independent relation. Finally, among 
natural signs the relation of sign to signified is not inde- 
pendent of the human understanding, because the very 
exercise of signifying or representing places nothing 
mind-independent in the thing signified. For no change 
comes about in a signified as the result of its being 
represented by a sign, but there is a physical change in 
the cognitive power as a result of being stimulated anew 
by a sign. Therefore, with respect to the signified, the 
sign-relation is not independent of mind, because the 
power of signifying cannot be more independent of 
understanding than the act and exercise of signifying. 

The response to the first proof 23 is that when the 
significate does not exist, the sign does not remain a sign 
formally, but fundamentally, because the formal and ac- 
tual rationale of substitution ceases when that for which 
it substitutes is nonexistent. But the capacity for 
manifesting itself as well as the signified thus absent re- 
mains, because the proportion or connection to that once 
existent significate, which proportion can found a sign- 
relation, remains; and by virtue of this proportion or con- 
nection representation comes about, not by virtue of the 
relation by which the sign is formally constituted in the 
rationale of a substituted thing. 

To the second proof 24 1 say that the concept of a mind- 
dependent being, or an image of a chimerical thing, 
represents the impossible thing in the mode of possible 
things, as for example the Chimera [of Greek legend] is 
represented through its parts, which are something 
physically possible a lion's head, a goat's body, and a 
serpent's tail although their conjunction does not 
physically exist. And to this very element which in such 
an object is purely chimerical and a mind-dependent be- 
ing, there is no mind-independent relation of the natural 
sign, 25 but there can be a manifestative and represen- 


git signatum ut repraesentandum poten- 
tiae, imago autem respicit exemplar ut 
imitandum a se. Sed in signato hoc, 
quod est esse repraesentabile potentiae, 

5 non est aliquid reale, sed rationis, quia 
ad potentiam cognoscentem non ordina- 
tur signatum reali ordinatione et rela- 
tione, sed ut manifestable, et sic ut 
cetera obiecta, quae non mutua relatione 

w respiciunt potentiam. Ergo signum attin- 
gitur a signato sub formalitate quadam 
rationis, atque adeo non per relationem 
realem. Denique, quia ipsum exerci- 
tium significandi seu repraesentandi 

is nihil reale ponit in signato. Nee enim 
mutatio aliqua fit in signato per hoc, 
quod repraesentatur a signo, fit autem 
mutatio realis in potentia per hoc, quod 
moveatur de novo a signo. Ergo respec- 
tu signati relatio signi realis non est, quia 
non potest esse magis realis potestas 
significandi quam actus et exercitium. 
RESPONDETUR ad primam proba- 
tionem, 23 quod signum non existente 

25 signato non manet formaliter signum, 
sed fundamentaliter, quia deficit formalis 
et actualis ratio substitutionis non exis- 
tente eo, pro quo substituit. Sed manet 
virtus tarn manifestandi se quam signa- 

30 rum sic absens, quia manet proportio seu 
connexio ad ipsum, quae fundare potest 
talem relationem, et virtute huius fit 
repraesentatio, non virtute relationis qua 
formaliter constituitur in ratione substi- 

35 tuti. 

Ad secundam probationem 24 
dicitur, quod conceptus entis rationis vel 
imago rei chimaericae repraesentat rem 
impossibilem ad modum rerum possibil- 

40 ium, sicut chimaera repraesentatur per 
suas partes, quae sunt aliquid reale, ut 
caput leonis, corpus caprae et cauda ser- 
pentis, quorum tamen coniunctio realiter 
non est. Et ad hoc ipsum, quod in tali 

45 obiecto pure chimaericum est et ens ra- 
tionis, non datur relatio realis signi 
naturalis, 25 sed dari potest reale manifes- 

23 145/33-38. 
24 145/39-42. 

25 See above, Question 1, note 25, bearing in mind also 119/45-48; and below, Question 5, 
note 21, p. 200. 

BOOK ONE, QUESTION TWO [661b41-662al6] 147 

tative element that has its being independently of being tativum et repraesentativum, scilicet spe- 
apprehended as an object, namely, the specifying form cies ad instar entis realis ens rationis 
representing the mental construct on the pattern of mind- repraesentans; sed hoc manifestativum 
independent or physical being; but this mind-independent realem relationem non requirit nee dicit 
manifestative element does not require a mind-independent 5 formalitatem signi, sed transcendenta- 
relation, nor does it express the formality of the sign, but lem rationem repraesentativi. 
the transcendental rationale of something representative . Adtertiamprobationem 26 re- 
To the third proof 26 the response is that something signi- spondetur, quod signatum ut obiectum 
fied as an object manifestable to a cognitive power is in itself manifestable potentiae aliquid reale est 
something mind-independent, even though it is not refer- w in se, licet non mutua relatione referatur 
red by a reciprocal relation either to the power to which it neque ad potentiam, cui est repraesenta- 
is representable, or to the sign by means of which it is bile, neque ad signum, per quod reprae- 
representable. Indeed, because an object is less dependent sentabile est. Imo quia minus dependens 
in its own order upon a cognitive power than is a cognitive est in suo ordine a potentia, quam poten- 
power upon it, it does not have as object a reciprocal rela- is tia ab ipso, non habet ut obiectum rela- 
tion to the power. Whence, just as knowledge and power tionem mutuam ad potentiam. Unde si- 
respect an object by a mind-independent relation of the third cut ipsa scientia et potentia reali relatione 
essential type, even though the object does not bear on the tertii generis respiciunt obiectum, licet 
power by a mind-independent relation, because it suffices obiectum non reali relatione se habeat ad 
for this type of relation if the terminus exists in the order 20 potentiam, quia sufficit ad hoc realitas 
of mind-independent being and not in the formality of ter- termini in esse rei et non in formalitate 
minus, as was said in article 5 of q. 17 27 : so also the sign- termini, ut q. 17. art. 5. dictum est 27 : ita 

26 145/42-146/13. 

27 Logica 2. p. q. 17. art. 5., Reiser ed., 597a41-598al3: "Probabilius videtur, quod in relativis 
tertii ordinis non datur terminus formalis correlativus, sed solum fundamentaliter proxime. 

"... Ita tertia sententia supra [596a27-41] relata. Et deduci videtur ex D. Thoma, qui saepe docet, 
quod cointelligitur oppositio in terminis istarum relationum per intellectum et non in re, ut patet in 1. 
p. q. 13. art. 7., praesertim ad 2. Et in 1. ad Annibaldum dist. 30. art. 1. ad 3. [Pa XXII. 84 b.] dicit, 
'quod cuilibet relationi opponitur alia relatio, quae quandoque est in re, ad quam relatio terminatur, quan- 
doque est in intellectu tantum, non sicut in relato, sed sicut in intelligente aliquid sub relatione'. Constat 
ergo ex D. Thomas, quod terminus oppositionem dicit relativam, et tamen non semper est ista relatio in 
re terminante, sed in intellectu, atque adeo non datur terminus formaliter in re.Et manifeste deducitur 
ex praecedenti conclusione [Second Preamble, Article 2, note 21, p. 97], quia formalis ratio termini 
consistit in oppositione ad suum correlativum; haec oppositio non invenitur formaliter ex parte alterius 
extremi, quia non habet relationem realem et consequenter neque oppositionem relativam; ergo non est 
formaliter terminus in re. 

"Quod vero fundamentaliter proxime sit terminus, probatur, quia denominatur extrinsece talis a rela- 
tione existente in altero extremo, sicut Deus dicitur dominus ex relatione servitutis existente in creatura, 
et Christus secundum D. Thomam 3. p. q. 35. art. 5. et in 3. dist. 8. [q. 1. art. 5. (Pa VII. 103 a.)] 
dicitur filius Virginis ob relationem maternitatis existentem in Virgine. Et videri potest in 1. dist. 40. 
q. 1. art. 1. ad 2. [Pa VI. 328 a.], ubi inquit: 'In relativis quandoque denominatur aliquid per id, quod 
in ipso est, sicut pater paternitate, quae est in ipso; quandoque autem denominatur eo, quod solum in 
altero est, sicut in illis, in quorum alio est relatio secundum rem et in olio secundum rationem tantum. ' 
Quae omnia fundantur in dicto Aristotelis 5. Metaph. textu 20. [c. 15 (1021 a 29).], quod saepe repetit 
S. Thomas, quod mensurabile et scibile dicitur aliquid eo, quod aliquid dicitur ad ipsum, sicut dicitur ali- 
quid scibile, quia de eo datur scientia. Facta autem hac denominatione potest proxime in ilia fundari con- 
ceptus relationis oppositae, quae importat formalitatem termini." "It seems more probable that in 
relatives of the third order [i.e., in the case of the nonreciprocal relations of measured to measure] 
there is no correlative formal term, but only a term proximately correlative after the manner 
of a fundament. 

"Such is the third of the three options outlined above [at 596a27-41]. And it seems to be drawn 
from St. Thomas, who often teaches that the reciprocal opposition in the termini of these rela- 
tions is from the understanding and is not in the things related, as is clear in the Summa theologica, 
I, q. 13, art. 7, especially in the reply to objection 2. Also in the first book of the Commentary on 
the Sentences Written for Annibald, dist. 30, art. 1, reply to the third objection, he says, 'that to any 
relation whatever there is opposed another relation, which sometimes is in the thing at which 

148 [662al6-46] 


relation to that same object as signifiable to a power is 
mind-independent, because in the order of mind- 
independent being the signified is mind-independent, 
even though the relation of the signified to the cognitive 
power or to the sign itself is not mind-independent. 

To the final proof 28 the response is that the exercise 
of a sign does not posit anything in the thing signified, 
since the sign rather receives from and depends upon 
the signified, inasmuch as it is substituting for that 
signified thing. But if a sign did physically alter the sig- 
nificate, the significate would mind-independently respect 
the sign by which it was altered. Whence, from the fact 
that the sign does not physically alter the signified, it does 
not follow that the sign does not mind-independently 
respect the signified, but that the signified does not 
mind-independently respect the sign, which we freely 
grant; but the objector needed to prove that the sign was 
not physically altered by or dependent upon the signi- 
ficate for which it substitutes. In respect of a cognitive 
power, however, a sign certainly stimulates independent- 
ly of the mind in an objective way, not by acting produc- 
tively, as is said below. 29 But such a stimulation belongs 
to a sign not as a sign formally, but as an object [which 
is also a sign]. To move by substituting for another is the 
act of [an object which is also] a sign, or to signify; but 
thus [the stimulus object] implies the relation of a 
substitute for the significate, and therefore inasmuch as 





et relatio signi ad idem obiectum ut sig- 
nificabile potentiae realis est, quia in esse 
rei signatum est reale, licet relatio signati 
ad potentiam vel ad ipsum signum realis 
non sit. 

Ad ultimam probationem 28 res 
pondetur, quod exercitium signi non 
ponit aliquid in signato, cum potius sig- 
num a signato recipiat et pendeat, utpote 
pro ipso substituens. Si autem realiter 
mutaret signatum, realiter respiceret sig- 
num, a quo immutaretur. Unde ex eo, 
quod non realiter immutat, non sequitur, 
quod signum realiter non respiciat sig- 
natum, sed quod signatum realiter non 
respiciat signum, quod libenter conce- 
dimus; sed oportebat probare, quod sig- 
num non realiter immutatur vel pendet 
a signato, pro quo substituit. Respectu 
vero potentiae movet quidem signum 
realiter obiective, non effective agendo, 
ut infra dicetur. 29 Sed talis motio est sig- 
ni non ut signum formaliter, sed ut 
obiectum; movere autem substituendo 
pro alio est actus signi seu significare, 
sed sic importat relationem substituti ad 
signatum, et ideo quatenus signum non 

the first relation is terminated, sometimes is in the understanding only, not as in a related thing, 
but as in the understanding of something under the aspect of a relation.' What is certain from 
this remark by St. Thomas is that a term bespeaks a relative opposition, and yet this relation 
is not always in the terminating thing, but [can sometimes only be] in the understanding, and 
in such a case there is no term formally existing in the thing. And this clearly follows from 
the preceding conclusion, because the formal character of a term consists in the opposition to 
its correlative; but this opposition does not have a mind-independent relation, and consequent- 
ly neither a relative opposition; therefore there is not formally a term in the thing. 

"But that there is a term in the thing proximately after the manner of a fundament is proved 
by the fact that the thing is extrinsically denominated as fundament for a relation by the relation 
existing in the other extreme, as God, for example, is called Lord from the relation of 'being 
subject' existing in a creature, or as Christ, according to St. Thomas in the Summa theologica, 
III, q. 35, art. 5, and in his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book 3, dist. 8, question 
1, art. 5, is said to be the son of Mary on account of the relation of maternity existing in Mary. 
Proof of the thesis can also be seen in Book I of St. Thomas's Commentary on the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, dist. 40, q. 1, art. 1, reply to objection 2, where he says: 'In the case of relative 
things, sometimes something is denominated by that which is in it, as a father by the paternity 
which is in him; but sometimes something is denominated by that which is only in the other, 
as in the case of those relatives in one of which there is a relation according to fact, and in the 
other of which there is a relation according to the understanding only.' All of which is based 
on the saying of Aristotle, in the Metaphysics, Book 5, chap. 15 [1021 a 29], which St. Thomas 
often repeats, that something is called measurable and knowable from this, that something is 
said relative to it, as something is said to be knowable because there is knowledge of it. Given 
this denomination, however, there can be founded on it proximately the concept of an opposite 
relation, which imports the formality of a term." 

28 146/13-24. 

29 Question 5. 


[662a46-663a2] 149 

it is a sign it does not respect the [stimulated] power direct- 
ly, but the signif icate for which it substitutes in stimulating 
the power. 

A third argument: a natural sign and a stipulated 
sign coincide univocally in the rationale of sign. Therefore 
the one cannot be mind-independent and the other mind- 
dependent, because nothing is univocal to mind-indepen- 
dent and mind-dependent relations, nor are both natural 
and stipulated signs something mind-independent, since a 
stipulated sign is known to be a mental artifact; therefore 
both natural and stipulated signs are mind-dependent. 

The antecedent is p r o v e d : the rationale of an ob- 
ject or knowable thing is univocal in a mind-independent 
being and in a mind-dependent being, because it pertains 
to univocal types of systematic knowledge and to the same 
cognitive power. For Logic, which treats of mind-dependent 
being, and Metaphysics, which treats of mind-independent 
being, are univocally sciences [i.e., formally unified object- 
domains]. Therefore their objects also are univocally objects 
and systematically knowable things. Similarly, therefore, 
natural and stipulated signs are univocally signs; if indeed 
the rationale of sign and signif iable is of the order of an ob- 
ject and knowable thing for which a sign substitutes. 

This is confirmed by the oft-repeated argument that 
because what is common to signs is a determinate species 
of being or relation, sign must therefore be placed in a deter- 
minate category or genus, but cannot abstract from the 
mind-independent and the mind-dependent. Moreover, 
even within the [determinate] category or genus of relation 
[as a possible mode of mind-independent being] it is not 
clear to which of the three essential types a sign should be 
determinately assigned. For it is not always in the order of 
measure and measurable, because sometimes a sign is not 
perfected by the significate, but vice versa, as when a cause 
is the sign of the caused for example, clouds are a sign of 
rain; nor again is it readily apparent among signs which are 
effects how smoke, for example, is measured by fire, or 
how too in an image the two relations of measure should be 
distinguished, one in the rationale of image, the other in the 
rationale of sign, if indeed these rationales are different. 

The response to this argument 30 is that it is true that the 
rationale of something knowable and of an object can be uni- 
vocal in a mind-independent and in a mind-dependent be- 
ing; for the divisions of being in the order of physical ex- 
istence are one thing, while divisions in the order of the 
knowable are quite another, as Cajetan well teaches in Part 
I, q. 1, art. 3, of his Commentary on the Summa theologica. 31 

respicit directe potentiam, sed signatum, 
pro quo substituit ad movendum poten- 

Tertio arguitur: Signum naturale et 

5 ad placitum conveniunt univoce in ra- 
tione signi. Ergo non potest alterum esse 
reale, alterum rationis, quia ad rela- 
tionem realem et rationis nihil est uni- 
vocum, nee utrumque est aliquid reale, 

w cum signum ad placitum constet esse ali- 
quid rationis; ergo utrumque aliquid ra- 
tionis est. 

Antecedens probatur: Ratio obiecti seu 
cognoscibilis est univoca in ente reali et 

15 rationis, quia ad univocas scientias et 
potentiam eandem pertinet. Logica e- 
nim, quae agit de ente rationis, et Meta- 
physica, quae de ente reali, univoce sunt 
scientiae. Ergo et obiecta earum univoce 

20 sunt obiecta et scibilia. Ergo similiter 
univoce sunt signa; siquidem ratio signi 
et significabilis est de genere obiecti et 
cognoscibilis, pro quo substituit. 

Confirmatur illo vulgari argumen- 

25 to, quia signum in communi est deter- 
minata species entis seu relationis, ergo 
debet poni in determinate genere, non 
vero abstrahere a reali et rationis. Imo 
in ipsa relatione non apparet, in quo 

30 genere determinate ponatur. Nam in 
genere mensurae et mensurabilis non 
semper ponitur, cum aliquando signum 
non perficiatur a signato, sed e contra, 
sicut quandd causa est signum causati, 

35 ut nubes est signum pluviae; nee facile 
etiam apparet inter signa, quae sunt ef- 
fectus, quomodo fumus mensuretur ab 
igne, quomodo etiam in imagine distin- 
guatur duplex relatio mensurae, altera 

40 in ratione imaginis, altera in ratione 
signi, siquidem diver sae sunt. 

RESPONDETUR 30 verum esse, quod ra- 
tio cognoscibilis et obiecti in ente reali 
et rationis potest esse univoca; aliae 

45 enim sunt divisiones entis in esse rei, 
aliae in genere scibilis, ut bene Caietanus 
docet 1. p. q. 1. art. 3. 31 Et sic ratio 

30 to 149/4-23. 

31 See also the discussion of this in Question 4 below, 187/28-190/23, and note 33 thereto, 
p. 187; and in Book II, Question 1, 235/36-236/46, Question 5, 270/37-271/21. 

150 [663a2-19] TRACTATUS DE SIGNIS 

And so the rationale of something knowable is not cognoscibilis non est ratio entis formaliter, 
the rationale of being formally, but only presuppos- sed praesuppositive solum est ens et con- 
itively is it being and consequent upon being; for secutum ad ens; verum enim est passio 
the true is a coincident property of being, and so entis, et sic formaliter non est ens, sed con- 
formally is not being, but consequent upon being 5 secutum ad ens et praesuppositive ens; 
and presuppositively being; but the true is the same idem est autem verum quod cognoscibile. 32 
as the knowable. 32 Whence it can well be that some Unde bene stat, quod aliquod ens incapax 
being incapable of [mind-independent] existence is existentiae sit capax veritatis, non ut subiec- 
capable of truth, not as a subject, but as an object, turn, sed ut obiectum, quatenus non habet 
inasmuch as it does not have in itself the entitative w in se entitatem, quae tamquam subiectum 
being which as subject founds truth and knowability, fundet veritatem et cognoscibilitatem, sed 
but does have that which as object can be known habet, quod tamquam obiectum possit cog- 
after the pattern of mind-independent being and so nosci ad instar entis realis et sic obiective 
exist objectively in the understanding as something esse in intellectu tamquam verum. Unde 

32 See Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 6. art. 3., esp. (in the Reiser ed.) III. 186b3-40: "Et quando instatur, 
quod omnis unio realis vel est accidentalis vel substantiate, respondetur, quod in re ita est, quod omnis 
talis unio vel identice vel formaliter sit accidentalis vel substantialis, sed non requiritur, quod solum 
formaliter, sicut passiones entis, ut verum et bonum, non sunt formaliter ens, sed identice, alias non 
essent passiones entis, sed ens ipsum, cui passiones conveniunt. Unio autem obiectiva intelligibilis datur 
ratione ipsius veri seu cognoscibilitatis, quae est passio entis. Requiritur tamen ad istam unionem obiec- 
tivam praesuppositive vel concomitanter aliqua realis et intima unio, vel in genere causae formalis 
inhaerentis, sicut nostra species, quae est qualitas, vel in genere causae materialis sustentantis, sicut sub- 
stantia angeli sustentat intellectum suum et in ratione speciei illi deservit, vel in ratione causae efficientis, 
sicut Deus operando intra intellectum et dando illi esse per immensitatem etiam in ratione speciei 
potest ilium actuare. Et posita aliqua unione ex istis potest etiam secundo modo seu in genere intelligibili 
fieri unio, distincta tamen a prima, quia distinctos habet effectus, perficiendo et actuando immaterialiter 
et faciendo, quod potentia in esse cognoscibili sit obiectum, non tertiam aliquam naturam ex reprae- 
sentatione et potentia constituendo, bene tamen potentiam actuatam relinquendo." "And when it 
is insisted that every real union is either accidental (a subjective modification) or substantial 
(a subject), the response is that in the mind-independent order it is the case that any given union, 
either identically or formally, is accidental or substantial, but it need not be the case that the union 
be such only formally, just as, for example, the transcendental properties of being, such as true 
and good, are not formally being, but identically otherwise they would not be properties of 
being, but being itself to which the properties belong. But an objective intelligible union is given 
by reason of the true itself or of knowability, which is a property of being. Yet some real and 
intimate union is necessary presuppositively or concomitantly to this objective union, either in 
the order of a formal inhering cause, such as our specifying form, which is a quality, or in the 
order of a sustaining material cause, as the substance of a pure spirit sustains its self-understanding 
and serves in the rationale of a specifying form thereto, or in the order of a productive cause, 
as God, by acting within the understanding and giving it existence through immensity [the divine 
property of being everywhere present through the creative power], can also actuate it in the 
rationale of a specifier. And given some union of these factors, there can also come about in 
a second way or in the intelligible order a union, yet one distinct from the first union [the en- 
titative one], because it has distinct effects, by perfecting and actuating immaterially, and by 
making the power be in knowable being the object, not by constituting some third nature out 
of the representation and the power, but indeed by leaving the power actuated." 

Powell comments on this as follows. 'Objective union is different from real union because 
it has different effects. For objective union transcends the difference between the real and unreal. 
For example, doing Logic, we experience a discipline that treats real and unreal components 
of science as having necessary functions in scientific theory. Thus the unreal and real elements 
have the same logical meaning as elements of theory. Likewise we experience real signs and unreal 
stipulated signs as conveying meaning with equal force. For example, smoke as a real sign of 
fire is no more efficacious than shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre (cf. Book I, Question 5, 
270/37-271/21). Nevertheless, objective union is real union between the knower and his natural 
and social environment. But this real union is only presupposed in objective union. Objective 
union is not as such real union. For objective union transcends the difference between the real 
and the unreal.' 


[663al9-bl7] 151 

true. Whence, although entitatively mind-independent 
being and mind-dependent being are analogized, never- 
theless, objectively, because the one is represented on 
the pattern of the other, even beings which are not 
univocal entitatively can coincide in a univocal rationale 
of an object, 33 as, for example, God and the creature, 
substance and accident in the rationale of a metaphysical 
knowable, or of something understandable by the hu- 
man mind. Moreover, the rationale of a sign, because 
it does not consist absolutely in the rationale of an ob- 
ject, but of a substitution for another which is supposed 
to be the object or thing signified, that it may be rep- 
resented to a cognitive power, does not pertain to the 
order of the cognizable absolutely, but relatively and 
ministerially; and for this role the rationale of a sign takes 
on something of the entitative order, to wit, as it is a 
relation and as it draws the order of the knowable to 
the order of the relative, and for this function a natural 
sign-relation, which is mind-independent, does not coin- 
cide univocally with a stipulated sign-relation, which 
is mind-dependent. 

To the confirmation 34 response has already been made 
in the preceding question, 35 toward the end. 36 To the dif- 
ficulty added in the present context concerning the 
species or type in the category of relation within which 
the sign is located, 37 the response is that it pertains to the 
type of measure and measured. 38 For the significate 
always functions as the principal thing to be represented, 
and the sign as serving and ministering in this [type of 
relation or] order, and so a sign respects its principal as 
an extrinsic measure in the order of what is representable, 
and through approximation to that measure the sign is 
the better as it better represents. And thus smoke 39 
respects fire as a measure in the rationale of a thing rep- 
resentable, not in the order of being. And an image as 
an image 40 respects an exemplar as measure in imitation 
and derivation therefrom as from a principle, but in the 
rationale of a sign an image respects the exemplar as the 
measure in the order of something representable and 
manifestable to a cognitive power, which relations [those 
of image to exemplar and sign-image to signified] are not 
the same. Although indeed a respect of cause or effect 
is found in signs (whether efficient or formal relative to 

licet entitative ens reale et ens rationis 
analogentur, tamen obiective, cum unum 
ad instar alterius repraesentetur, possunt 
in ratione univoca obiecti convenire etiam 

5 quae entitative univoca non sunt, 33 ut 
Deus et creatura, substantia et accidens 
in ratione scibilis metaphysici vel intel- 
ligibilis ab intellectu. Ceterum ratio signi 
cum non consistat in ratione obiecti ab- 

w solute, sed substitutionis ad alterum, 
quod supponitur esse obiectum seu sig- 
natum, ut repraesentetur potentiae, non 
pertinet ad genus cognoscibilis absolute, 
sed relative et ministerialiter; et pro hac 

is parte aliquid entitativi ordinis induit, 
scilicet ut relatio est et ut trahit genus 
cognoscibilis ad genus relativi, et pro 
hac parte non convenit univoce relatio 
signi naturalis, quae realis est, cum re- 

20 latione signi ad placitum, quae est ratio- 

Ad confirmationem 34 responsum 
est quaest. 35 praec. circa finem. 36 Quod 
vero additur de specie, in qua ponitur sig- 

25 num in genere relationis, 37 respondetur 
pertinere ad genus mensurae et mensura- 
ti. 38 Semper enim signatum se habet ut 
principale repraesentandum, et signum ut 
deserviens et ministrans in hoc genere, sic- 

30 que respicit suum principale ut mensuram 
extrinsecam in genere repraesentabilis et 
per accessum ad illam magis signum per- 
ficitur, quanto melius repraesentat. Et ita 
fumus 39 respicit ignem ut mensuram in ra- 

35 done repraesentabilis, non in genere entis. 
Et imago ut imago 40 respicit exemplar ut 
mensuram in imitatione et deductione ex 
ipso ut a principio, a quo derivatur, in ra- 
tione vero signi tamquam mensuram in 

40 genere repraesentabilis et manifestabilis 
potentiae, quae relationes diversae sunt. 
Quod vero in signis invenitur respectus 
causae vel effectus, sive efficientis sive for- 

33 Cross-references in note 31 above. 

34 149/24-40. 

35 In the original Latin: "art." 
36 133/14-134/10, esp. 133/24. 
37 149/25-28. 

38 149/28-40. 
39 149/36-37. 
40 149/38-40. 

152 [663bl7-25] 


the sign's significate 41 ), such relations are not formal- 
ly the sign-relation itself, but something presupposed 
or concomitant, 42 rendering this sign proportionate to 
that significate rather than to some other one, 43 but the 
sign-relation proper is to a significate as a thing 
representable to a cognitive power, not as an effect or 

a cause/ 

malis ad suum signatum, 41 tales relationes 
non sunt formaliter ipsa relatio signi, sed 
aliquid praesuppositum aut concomitans, 42 
ut hoc signum sit proportionatum illi sig- 
nato potius quam alteri, 43 propria vero re- 
latio signi est ad signatum ut repraesenta- 
bile potentiae non ut effectus vel causa. 44 

41 149/33-37. 

42 as we pointed out at 135/19-136/11, and again at 137/7, note 4, in the addition made in 
the 1663 Lyons text. 

43 135/1-136/29, 138/23-32, 140/21-24. 
44 See 140/21-43. 



Whether the Relation of Sign to Signified Is the Same 
as the Relation of Sign to Cognitive Power 


Utrum Sit Eadem Relatio Signi 
ad Signatum et Potentiam 

It is certain that an order to a cognitive power is found 
in the signs which are external to sense and known first, 
enabling them to lead to a significate, just as in the case 
of any other objects known and terminating cognition, 
because it is clearly apparent that such signs are known 
as objects are known, as smoke, for example, is first seen 
as an object, then leads from its own being known to 
something signified. Whence the respect or order of a 
sign to a cognitive power in the rationale of an object must 
be distinct from the order or respect in the rationale of 
sign, because in this respect of an object a sign coincides 
with other objects which are not signs, and respects the 
power objectively in the same way as those other objects 
do. Considering therefore that an external sign might 
respect a cognitive power not only purely objectively, but 
also significatively, it remains to be examined whether 
that relation whereby a sign respects a significate, and 
in the order to which it takes on the rationale of a sign, 
is the very same relation whereby the sign also respects 
the cognitive power to which this significate is to be 
manifested by the sign; or whether an external sign has 
a relation to the signified separate and complete apart 
from a respect to a cognitive power, which power the 
sign, in the rationale of an object, respects by a second 
relation, both of which relations together concur to con- 
stitute the rationale of the sign; or even whether there 
might be found in the very rationale of a sign, over and 
above the rationale of object, a twofold relation, one to 
a cognitive power, the other to the significate. 




Certum est in signis externis, et quae 
prius cognoscuntur, ut ducant ad signa- 
tum, inveniri ordinem ad potentiam, sicut 
in reliquis obiectis cognitis et terminan- 
tibus cognitionem, cum clare appareat 
talia signa cognosci ut obiecta, sicut 
fumus prius videtur ut obiectum, deinde 
ex cognitione sui dutit in signatum. Unde 
respectus seu ordo sign! ad potentiam in 
ratione obiecti distinctus debet esse ab 
ordine seu respectu in ratione signi, cum 
in hoc respectu obiecti conveniat cum aliis 
obiectis, quae signa non sunt, et eodem 
modo atque ilia potentiam respicit obiec- 
tive. Ut ergo non solum pure obiective, 
sed etiam significative respiciat poten- 
tiam, inquirendum restat, an illamet rela- 
tio, qua significatum respicit, et in ordine 
ad quod rationem signi induit, illamet 
etiam respiciat potentiam, cui signatum 
hoc manifestandum est a signo; an vero 
relationem habeat ad signatum purifica- 
tam et absolutam a respectu ad potenti- 
am, alia vero relatione respiciat potentiam 
in ratione obiecti, et utraque concurrat ad 
rationem signi constituendam, vel etiam 
in ipsa ratione signi praeter rationem 
obiecti reperiatur duplex relatio, altera ad 
potentiam, altera ad signatum. 

154 [664al8-b29] 


The reason for the difficulty here arises from the 
fact that from one side a sign does not respect a sig- 
nificate only in itself, but in an order to a cognitive 
power, because an order to a power is included in 
the definition of sign as something manifestative to 
a cognitive power, etc. If therefore the rationale of 
a sign bespeaks this respect to a power, either the 
sign respects both significate and power by one and 
the same relation, and the difficulties to be touched 
on below arise from the fact that significate and 
power are entirely diverse terms, since in respect of 
a power there is only a mind-dependent relation: in 
respect of a signified there is [individual-mind-inde- 
pendent] order of measured to measure; in respect 
of a power, on the contrary, the power is measurable 
by the [external] sign itself as by a known object. Or 
the relations of sign to power and to signified are 
diverse, and so the sign will not be in the category 
of a relation, because there is in the rationale of sign 
not just one relation, but a plurality of relations. 

The conclusion will nevertheless be: If power and 
signified are considered as termini directly attained 
through a relation, they necessarily require a double 
relation in the sign, but an external sign considered 
in this way respects the cognitive power directly as 
an object, not formally as a sign. But if the power 
is considered as a terminus indirectly attained, then 
the significate and the cognitive power are attained 
by the single sign-relation, and this relation is the 
proper and formal rationale of the sign. 

In this way one and the same existing relation can 
be bounded by two termini, one directly, the other 
indirectly, which is to have simply but one terminus 
in the formal rationale of terminus. 

Many of the more recent proponents of sign 
theory do not concur in this conclusion. For some 
are of the opinion that a sign consists in two rela- 
tions concurring equally, one to what is signified, the 
other to a cognitive power. Others claim to see in 
the sign, even as distinguished from an object, the 
two relations of sign to signified and sign to power, 
although not equally constituting the rationale of the 
sign, yet intrinsically and essentially required. But 
how one of these relations is coupled to the other 
one, whether as a genus or as a difference or as a 
property or as a mode, they explain with the greatest 
difficulty. Still others conflate power and signified 
as material parts into one integral formal term. Others 
again deny that a sign as sign respects a cognitive 
power, and yet others deny that it respects a signi- 
ficate, holding that the entire essence of a sign con- 


ex una parte signum non respicit solum 
signatum in se, sed in ordine ad potenti- 
am, cum in definitione signi ordo ad po- 

5 tentiam includatur, scilicet quod sit mani- 
festativum potentiae etc. Si ergo ratio sig- 
ni respectum istum dicit ad potentiam, vel 
unica et eadem relatione respicit utrumque, 
et currunt difficultates infra attingendae, 

w quia sunt termini omnino diversi, cum res- 
pectu potentiae sit solum relatio rationis: 
respectu signati sit ordo mensurati ad men- 
suram, respectu potentiae e contra potentia 
sit mensurabilis ab ipso signo ut ab obiecto 

is cognito. Vel est diversa relatio signi ad po- 
tentiam et signatum, et sic non erit signum 
in praedicamento relationis, quia in ratione 
signi non est unica relatio, sed pluralitas rela- 

20 SIT NIHILOMINUS coNCLUSio: Si potentia 
et signatum considerentur ut termini directe 
attacti per relationem, necessario exigunt 
duplicem relationem in signo, sed hoc modo 
signum respicit potentiam directe ut obiec- 

25 turn, non formaliter ut signum. Si vero con- 
sideretur potentia ut terminus in obliquo at- 
tactus, sic unica relatione signi attingitur 
signatum et potentia, et haec est propria et 
formalis ratio signi. 

30 Itaque potest aliqua relatio una et eadem 
existens terminari ad duos terminos, alterum 
in recto, alterum in obliquo, quod est simpli- 
citer habere unum tantum terminum in ra- 
tione formali termini. 

35 Non conveniunt in hac conclusione plures 
ex recentioribus. Aliqui enim existimant 
signum consistere in duplici relatione ex 
aequo concurrente, altera ad signatum, altera 
ad potentiam. Alii vero etiam in signo, 

40 ut distinguitur ab obiecto, duplicem rela- 
tionem agnoscunt, signati et potentiae, licet 
non ex aequo constituentem rationem signi, 
intrinsece tamen et essentialiter requisitam. 
Quomodo autem una istarum relationum 

45 comparetur ad aliam, an ut genus vel ut dif- 
ferentia vel ut passio vel ut modus, difficillime 
explicant. Alii ex potentia et signato conflant 
unum integrum terminum formalem quasi ex 
materialibus partibus. Alii negant signum ut 

so signum respicere potentiam, et alii respi- 
cere signatum, sed totam essentiam signi con- 


[664b29-665al9] 155 

sists in a certain apprehensibility by a cognitive power 
as a means for knowing another. Although these last 
two opinions are generally rejected on the grounds 
that the definition of a sign postulates both a signi- 
ficate which is manifested and a cognitive power to 
which that significate is represented/ some never- 
theless grant that it is of the intrinsic rationale of a 
sign only to be able to terminate a power as a means 
through or in which the signified is known, but that 
it is not of a sign's intrinsic rationale to be referred 
to a cognitive power either by a mind-independent 
or by a transcendental order or by a mind-dependent 
relation, even though in our way of conceiving, a sign 
is not apprehended without such an order. 

Yet the stated conclusion can be proved. 

As regards the first part, 2 that cognitive power 
and thing signified as termini directly attained postu- 
late a double relation follows from the fact that 3 a cog- 
nitive power is not respected directly except by its 
own object, whether stimulating or terminating; for 
a power directly respects an object as an object, but 
a sign does not bespeak directly the rationale of an ob- 
ject, but of something substituting for an object and 
of a medium between significate and power, there- 
fore a sign directly respects the significate for which 
it substitutes, insofar as it is a sign. As it directly 
respects a cognitive power, therefore, a sign needs to 
be understood in the rationale of an object and not 
in the rationale of a sign; and thus it directly attains 
a power by a relation other than the sign-relation, 
which is to be plurirelative. In sum: A direct relation 
[of an object] to a power and as directly bearing 






sistere in quadam apprehensibilitate a poten- 
tia ut medium ad cognoscendum aliud. Quae 
ultimae opiniones licet communiter reician- 
tur, quia definitio signi utrumque postulat, et 
signatum, quod manifestetur, et potentia, cui 
repraesentetur; 1 tamen aliqui concedunt de 
intrinseca ratione signi solum esse terminare 
posse potentiam ut medium, per quod vel in 
quo cognoscitur signatum, non vero esse de 
intrinseca ratione eius, quod referatur ad 
potentiam neque reali aut transcendental! or- 
dine neque relatione rationis, licet ex parte 
nostri modi concipiendi sine tali ordine non 

Nihilominus conclusio posita 

ET QUOAD PRIMAM PARTEM, 2 quod potentia 
et signatum ut termini directe attacti postulent 
duplicem relationem, ex eo constat, 3 quia po- 
tentia non respicitur directe nisi a suo obiecto 
vel movente vel terminante; potentia enim di- 
recte respicit obiectum ut obiectum, signum 
autem non dicit directe rationem obiecti, sed 
substituentis pro obiecto et medii inter signa- 
tum et potentiam, ergo directe respicit signa- 
tum, pro quo substituit, in quantum signum 
est. Ut ergo directe respiciat potentiam, in- 
diget sumi in ratione obiecti et non in ratione 
signi; et sic alia relatione attinget directe 
potentiam, quam relatione signi, quod est esse 
plures relationes. In summa: Relatio ad po- 
tentiam in recto et ut directe se habens ad 

1 See Question 2 above, 140/22-43; and below, 159/7-22. 

2 154/21-26. 

3 The 1663 Lyons text at this point reads: ". . . ex eo constat, quia. sic considerate distinguuntur 
et in esse rei et in ratione formali terminandi. In esse rei, quia signatum est aliquid extra potentiam et 
ab ilia distinctum, sicut ignis cognitus exfumo, bos ex vestigio. In ratione formali terminandi, quia poten- 
tia tantum est terminus, qui directe respicitur, in quantum movetur ab aliquo, vel aliquid terminatur ab 
ipsa. Nee enim potentia, ut potentia cognoscitiva est, ab aliquo extrinseco directe pendet nisi vel ut movente 
vel terminante, id est principio vel termino sui actus; quidquid praeter hoc est, non se habet potentia ad 
illud directe. Sub ratione autem moventis vel terminantis non terminat signatum relationem signi; constat 
enim, quod signatum neque movetur a signo neque terminatur ad signum, cum non versetur circa sig- 
num."". . . follows from the fact that, so considered, power and signified are distinguished 
both in the order of mind-independent being and in the formal rationale of terminating. In the 
being of thing, because the signified is something outside the power and distinct from it, as, 
for example, a fire known from smoke, an ox known from a footprint. In the formal rationale 
of terminating, because the power is a terminus directly respected only insofar as it is moved 
by another, or something is terminated by it. For a power, as it is a cognitive power, does not 
directly depend on anything extrinsic except either as stimulating or terminating, that is, on 
the principle or the term of its act; whatever is beyond this, the power does not hold itself toward 
directly. But the significate does not terminate the sign-relation under the rationale of something 
stimulating or terminating; for it is certain that the significate is neither moved by the sign nor 
terminated at the sign, since it is not concerned with the sign." 

156 [665al9-bl9] 


thereto and the relation [of an object] to a sign pro- 
ceed in opposite ways, because a cognitive power 
is movable [stimulable] by a sign, for it is moved as 
by one representing the signified; but the object itself 
signified is not movable by the sign, but manifestable 
by the sign, or is that on behalf of which the sign 
is vicegerent in representation. Therefore, if these 
relations are taken directly, they respect termini 
distinct even formally in the rationale of terminus. 

And it cannot be said that a sign is something rel- 
ative to a significate and not to a power, but only 
terminates a power. For that a sign is referred to a 
significate is unintelligible, if the sign is unconnected 
with a cognitive power and conceived without any 
order thereto, because a sign, insofar as it respects 
a significate, brings and presents that significate to 
a cognitive power. Therefore this relation to the sig- 
nificate as what is to be manifested contradicts being 
unconnected with a cognitive power. But if a sign 
does not exist absolutely in respect of a cognitive 
power, but dependency and ordinately thereto, it 
has consequently a relation thereto. 

This is confirmed by the fact that although an 
object in respect of a power is not constituted essen- 
tially in a relation to that power, but rather does the 
power depend upon the object, nevertheless an ex- 
ternal or outward sign, which is vicegerent for an ob- 
ject in representing and exhibiting itself to a cogni- 
tive power, necessarily 4 includes this relation; both 




potentiam et relatio ad signum opposite modo 
procedunt, cum potentia sit mobilis a signo, 
movetur enim ut a repraesentante signatum; 
ipsum vero signatum non est mobile a signo, 
sed manifestable, seu id, pro quo vices gerit 
signum in repraesentatione. Ergo si istae rela- 
tiones sumantur in recto, respiciunt distinc- 
tos terminos etiam formaliter in ratione 

Et non potest dici, quod signum sit 
relativum ad signatum et non ad potentiam, 
sed solum terminet potentiam. Repugnat 
enim intelligere, quod signum referatur ad 
signatum, si absolvatur a potentia et sine 
ordine aliquo ad ipsam concipiatur, quia in 
tantum respicit signatum, in quantum illud 
defert et praesentat potentiae. Ergo ista re- 
latio ad signatum ut potentiae manifestan- 
dum repugnat, quod absolvatur a potentia. 
Si autem respectu potentiae non absolute 
se habet, sed dependenter et ordinate ad 
illam, consequenter relationem habet ad il- 

Conf irmatur, quia licet obiectum respectu 
potentiae non constituatur per se in relatione 
ad illam, sed potius potentia ab illo depen- 
deat, tamen signum, quod gerit vices obiecti 
in repraesentando et exhibendo se potentiae, 
necessario 4 includit hanc relationem; turn 

4 The 1663 Lyons text reads at this point: "... necessario includit hanc relationem; omnis enim 
repraesentatio est sicut unio sive praesentia unius ad aliud. Omnis autem unio, omnis praesentia et con- 
iunctio involvit intrinsece respectum ad id, cui praesens et coniunctum redditur; omnis enim praesentia 
et coniunctio respicit extremum, cui coniungitur, nee aliter potest concipi. Ergo licet objectum in ipsa in- 
trinseca ratione obiecti, quod est specificare vel terminare, non includat respectum ad potentiam, tamen 
repraesentatio obiecti, quae est sicut applicatio et coniunctio eius ad potentiam, intrinsece dicit ordinem 
ad potentiam, cui fit coniunctio et applicatio. Signum autem subservit obiecto et substituit pro eo in ipsa 
ratione repraesentandi, non in ratione constitutiva obiecti principalis. Ergo signum intrinsece involvit ordinem 
ad potentiam, et non solum terminationem ut medium, quia non stat esse medium in vi repraesentationis 
et applicationis, nisi per ordinem ad terminum cui fit repraesentatio; fit autem potentiae."". . . neces- 
sarily includes this relation; for every representation is as a union or presence of one thing to 
another. But every union, any presence and conjunction, involves intrinsically a respect toward 
that to which it is rendered present and conjoined; for every presence and conjunction respects 
the extreme to which it is conjoined, nor can it be conceived otherwise. Therefore, even though 
an object in the precise intrinsic rationale of object, which is to specify or to terminate [see Ques- 
tion 4 of this Book, p. 166ff. within], does not include a respect to a cognitive power, never- 
theless, a representation of an object [see Book II, Questions 2 and 3, pages 240-261, within], 
which exists as an application and conjunction of it to a cognitive power, does intrinsically ex- 
press an order to the power relative to which the conjunction and application occurs. But a sign 
subserves an object and substitutes for it in the very rationale of representing [see Question 
1 of Book I and of Book II, p. 116ff . and 223ff.], not in the rationale constitutive of the principal 
object. Therefore a sign intrinsically involves an order to a cognitive power, and not only the 
termination as medium or means, because it does not stand in the being of means in virtue of 
the representation and application except through an order to the term to which the representa- 
tion occurs; it occurs, however, to a cognitive power ." 


[665bl9-666a40] 157 

because a substitution for anything is always in an 
order to something, and since a sign substitutes for 
and functions in the capacity of the thing signified in 
an order to the office of representing to a cognitive 
power, a sign must necessarily express an order to a 
power; and because to represent is to make an object 
present to a cognitive power, therefore, if a sign is a 
medium and substitute of the signified in represent- 
ing, it necessarily involves an order to that to which 
it represents or makes present; but this ["to which"] 
is a cognitive power. 

The second part of the conclusion 5 is proved as 
follows: The relation of sign to signified is a relation 
in the mode of a representation or of its application 
to a cognitive power. Therefore a sign must respect 
the signified as the direct terminus "which" of its [i.e., 
of the sign's] respect, which respect also attains a 
cognitive power indirectly and as a terminus "to 
which." For in the case of these relations which exist 
in the mode of substituting and representing, it is im- 
possible that they should respect that whose vicegerent 
they are, and not that on account of which or in an 
order to which they substitute, because it is in sub- 
stituting or functioning in the capacity of another ac- 
cording to some determinate rationale and in an order 
to some determinate end that one thing is a vicegerent 
of that other; otherwise that substitution would not 
be determinate, because a substitution is determined 
by the end for which it is made. Therefore, if a rela- 
tion of representing and substituting for some person 
is determinate, it must needs so respect that person 
that it also attains that on account of which and in an 
order to which it substitutes, for it is thence that the 
substitution is determinate. And so, since a sign is 
acting in the capacity of and representing a significate 
and substituting for that signified thing determinate- 
ly (that it may render an object present to a cognitive 
power), necessarily, in the very innards and intimate 
rationale of such a substitution for and representation 
of a signified, as it is a determinate substitution and 
representation, some respect toward a cognitive power 
is involved, because a sign substitutes for this, that it 
should represent to a cognitive power. 

Passing over many and various explanations of how 
the same relation could be said to attain the significate 
directly and a cognitive power indirectly, the more ade- 
quate explanation seems to be that a sign respects a 
power indirectly inasmuch as being manifestable to a 

quia substitutio pro aliquo semper est in or- 
dine ad aliquid, et cum signum substituat 
et vices gerat signati in ordine ad munus 
repraesentandi potentiae, necessario debet 

5 dicere ordinem ad potentiam; turn quia re- 
praesentare est praesens facere obiectum 
potentiae, ergo si signum est medium et 
substitutum signati in repraesentando, ne- 
cessario involvit ordinem ad id, cui reprae- 

w sentat seu praesens facit; hoc autem est 

SECUNDA VERO PARS conclusionis 5 proba- 
tur: Relatio signi ad signatum est relatio per 
modum repraesentationis seu applications 

is eius ad potentiam, ergo ita debet respicere 
signatum ut terminum directum et quod sui 
respectus, quod eriam attingat potentiam in 
obliquo et ut terminum cui. Repugnat enim 
in istis relationibus, quae per modum substi- 

20 tuentis et repraesentantis se habent, quod 
respiciant id, cuius gerunt vices, et non id, 
propter quod vel in ordine ad quod substi- 
tuunt, quia substituens seu gerens vices 
alicuius secundum aliquam determinatam 

25 rationem et in ordine ad aliquem determi- 
natum finem gerit vices illius; alioquin 
substitutio ilia determinata non esset, cum 
ex fine, propter quern fit, determinetur. 
Ergo si relatio repraesentantis et substituen- 

30 tis vicem alicuius personae est determinata, 
oportet, quod ita respiciat illam personam, 
quod etiam attingat id, propter quod et in 
ordine ad quod substituit, inde enim deter- 
minata substitutio est. Et ita cum signum 

35 sit vices gerens et repraesentans signatum 
substituensque pro illo determinate, ut 
potentiae reddat praesens obiectum, neces- 
sario in ipsis visceribus et intima ratione talis 
substitutionis et repraesentationis signati, ut 

40 determinata est, involvitur respectus aliquis 
ad potentiam, quia ad hoc substituit, ut 
potentiae repraesentet. 

Quomodo autem eadem relatio dicatur 
attingere in recto signatum et potentiam in 

45 obliquo, omissis multis et variis explicatio- 
nibus ilia adequatior videtur, quod signum 
respicit potentiam in obliquo, quatenus in 
ipso signato includitur esse manifestabile 

5 154/26-30. 

158 [666a41-b49] 


power is included within the very thing signified. And 
so, since the significate is not respected as it is some- 
thing absolutely in itself or according to some other 
order, but as manifestable to a cognitive power, the 
power itself is necessarily touched indirectly by that rela- 
tion which attains the significate not by resting on it 
precisely as it is in itself, but as it is manifestable to a 
cognitive power, and thus in some measure a sign-re- 
lation attains a cognitive power in that rationale of 
something manifestable to another, not by separately 
attaining the power, but by attaining that which is man- 
ifestable to the power, just as, for example, the virtue 
of religion respects for [its] formal object worship as 
something to be rendered to God, not that it respects 
God directly, for thus it would be a theological virtue, 
but worship directly, and God but indirectly, inasmuch 
as God is contained in worship as the terminus to which 
worship is rendered, and religion respects worship as 
under that terminus, and not absolutely or under some 
other consideration. The order to good that I will for 
a friend in friendship is the same; for that order is not 
terminated at the good willed absolutely, but at a good 
willed as it is referable to the friend, and the friend as 
the terminus of that good [willed] for someone ter- 
minates the same relation, even though not as the direct 
object, but as included in the direct object, by the fact 
that that direct object, the willed good, is respected as 
relative to this person and not absolutely. 

It is indeed true that for a sign to respect a signified 
in this way, i.e., as something manifestable to a cogni- 
tive power, it is essentially presupposed that the sign 
itself respects the power by some other relation, either 
as an apprehensible object, if the sign is an instrumen- 
tal sign, or as a form constituting an apprehension, if it 
is a formal sign, and thus serves for arriving at an aware- 
ness of another as an instrumental or as a formal sign. 
Yet this relation of sign to power, as we remarked at 
the beginning of this question, does not belong to the 
sign as it is formally a sign, but as it is an object or a 
form; presuppositively, however, this relation to a power 
is required for an external sign, because an external sign 
is also an object stimulating a cognitive power, and un- 
less it does this as an object, it will not manifest [func- 
tion] as a sign. But formally the one relation is distin- 
guished from the other. 6 And although by virtue of the 
respect to the signified alone, in which is included in- 
directly the cognitive power to which that signified is 
manifestable, a sign would not exercise representation 

potentiae. Et ita cum signatum non res- 
piciatur, ut est aliquid absolute in se vel 
secundum alium ordinem, sed ut manifes- 
table potentiae, necessario ipsa potentia 

5 tangitur in obliquo ab ilia relatione, quae 
attingit signatum non sistendo in illo ut in 
se praecise, sed ut manif estabile potentiae, 
et sic aliqualiter attingit potentiam in ilia ra- 
tione manifestabilis alteri, non seorsum at- 

w tingendo potentiam, sed attingendo id, 
quod manifestable est potentiae, sicut 
religio respicit pro obiecto formali cultum 
ut exhibendum Deo, non quod Deum res- 
piciat in recto, sic enim esset virtus theo- 

15 logica, sed cultum in recto, Deum vero in 
obliquo, quatenus Deus continetur in cultu 
ut terminus, cui exhibetur, et religio res- 
picit cultum, ut subest illi termino, et non 
absolute vel sub alia consideratione. Et 

20 idem est in amicitia ordo ad bonum, quod 
volo amico; nee enim terminatur ordo ille 
ad bonum volitum absolute, sed ut est re- 
feribile amico, et amicus ut terminus illius 
boni in aliquo eandem relationem terminat, 

25 licet non ut obiectum directum, sed ut in- 
clusum in obiecto directo, eo quod respi- 
citur illud ut ad istud et non absolute. 

Verum quidem est, quod, ut signum re- 
spiciat signatum hoc modo, id est ut mani- 

30 festabile potentiae, praesupponitur essen- 
tialiter, quod ipsum signum alia relatione 
respiciat potentiam, vel tamquam obiectum 
apprehensibile, si sit signum instrumen- 
tale, vel tamquam forma constituens appre- 

35 hensionem, si sit signum formale, et sic de- 
serviat ad deveniendum in notitiam alterius 
ut signum instrumentale vel formale. Ce- 
terum ista relatio signi ad potentiam, ut dix- 
imus in initio articuli, non est signi ut 

40 signum formaliter, sed ut obiecti vel for- 
mae; praesuppositive autem ad signum re- 
quiritur, quia etiam est obiectum movens 
potentiam, et nisi moveat ut obiectum, non 
manifestabit ut signum, formaliter autem 

45 una relatio distinguitur ab alia. 6 Et licet ex 
vi solius respectus ad signatum, in quo obli- 
que includitur potentia, cui manifesta- 
bile est, non exerceat repraesentationem, 

6 See discussion in note 13 below. 


[666b49-667b8] 159 

unless a stimulation of the power were adjoined as the 
sign is a stimulus object, yet it is owing to that respect 
to the significate that that movement of stimulation is 
significative, that is to say, vicarious and substituting for 
the other which it signifies, and is not principally on 
behalf of [the stimulus object] itself. 

From this it can be inferred that the apprehensibility 
of a sign is not the very rationale founding the sign- 
relation immediately and formally, because to be ap- 
prehensible or knowable is the rationale of an object as 
object, which is required for the rationale of a sign only 
presuppositively; but that the fundament [of the sign- 
relation] is the very rationale of medium or means which 
the sign has relative to the significate as manifestable to 
a cognitive power, by substituting for that significate in 
the rationale of stimulating and representing. Much less 
does the being known or apprehended in a sign (which 
some call proximate apprehensibility) found or complete 
the rationale of the sign, because being known does not 
pertain to the rationale of a sign, but to its exercise (for 
when a sign represents in act, it is cognized in act), not 
as it is capable of representing. 


It is argued first: the relation of sign to signified 
is mind-independent among natural signs, but the rela- 
tion of sign to power among those same signs is mind- 
dependent, therefore there cannot be a single relation be- 
tween sign, signified, and cognitive power. 

The antecedent for the first part of this argument 
was established in the preceding question. The antece- 
dent for the second part is proved by the fact that a rela- 
tion to a cognitive power is a relation of a sign insofar 
as that sign is apprehensible by a cognitive power. But 
the relation to a knowing power of something apprehen- 
sible or knowable is a mind-dependent relation, even if 
the something in question is apprehensible as a sign, 
because being apprehensible or apprehended, whether 
in a sign or in an object, posits nothing mind-independent 
in what so exists; for cognition or apprehension really 
exists only in the cognitive power, but in the thing ap- 
prehended, whatever that might be, the apprehension 
does not posit a physical or mind-independent reality. 

The same argument can be made from the di- 
versity in mode and type between the relation [of a 
sign] to a cognitive power and the relation [of a sign] 
to the signified: For a relation of sign to signified is 
one of measured to measure, because the thing signi- 
fied is the principal for which the sign substitutes and 
is vicegerent, as has been often said. But a relation of 
sign to power is conversely a relation of measure to 

nisi adiungatur motio potentiae, ut obiec- 
tum motivum est, tamen ex respectu illo 
ad signatum habet, quod ilia motio signifi- 
cativa sit, id est vicaria et substituens pro 

5 alio, quod significat, non principalis pro 

Ex quo deducitur apprehensibilitatem 
signi non esse ipsam rationem fundan- 
tem relationem signi immediate et for- 

w maliter, cum esse apprehensibile seu cog- 
noscibile sit ratio obiecti ut obiectum, 
quae solum praesuppositive ad rationem 
signi requiritur; sed fundamentum esse 
ipsam rationem medii, quam habet ad 

is significatum ut manifestable potentiae, 
substituendo pro ipso in ratione moven- 
di et repraesentandi. Multo minus esse 
cognitum seu apprehensum in signo, 
quod aliqui vocant apprehensibilitatem 

20 proximam, fundat aut complet rationem 
signi, quia esse cognitum non pertinet ad 
rationem signi, sed ad exercitium eius 
(quando enim actu repraesentat, actu est 
cognitum), non ut repraesentativum sit. 



Primo arguitur: Relatio signi ad 
signatum in signis naturalibus est realis, 
ad potentiam vero in eisdem est rationis, 

30 ergo non potest esse unica relatio. 

Antecedens pro prima parte constat ex 
praec. art. Pro secunda probatur, quia 
relatio ad poientiam est relatio signi, in 
quantum apprehensibile est a potentia. 

35 Sed relatio apprehensibilis seu cogno- 
scibilis ad potentiam cognoscentem est 
relatio rationis, etiamsi sit apprehensibile 
ut signum, quia esse apprehensibile vel 
apprehensum, sive in signo sive in obiec- 

40 to, nihil reale ponit in ipso; cognitio enim 

seu apprehensio solum est realiter in 

potentia, in re vero apprehensa, quae- 

cumque ilia sit, non ponit realitatem. 

Idem argumentum fit ex diverse 

45 modo et specie relationis ad potentiam 
et ad signatum: Nam relatio signi ad 
signatum est mensurati ad mensuram, 
quia signatum est principale, pro quo 
substituit et vices gerit signum, ut 

so saepe dictum est. Signi vero relatio ad 
potentiam est e converso mensurae ad 

160 [667b8-668al5] 


measured. For a sign respects a cognitive power by a 
nonreciprocal relation, because the sign stands on the 
side of an object representing and does not function as 
measured by the power, therefore as measuring that 
power; for a cognitive power does not measure an ap- 
prehended thing, but is measured by that thing, because 
it is perfected by that thing. 

The response to this 7 and similar arguments which 
are multiplied in the same manner is that they prove 
what we have said from the start, namely, that the rela- 
tion to a cognitive power from the side of a sign as object 
of the power, and the relation to the significate, as to 
direct termini, are not one relation, but multiple. Yet 
neither of the two is the sign-relation formally. Rather, 
the relation directly to the cognitive power is an object- 
relation under the rationale and formality of an object, 
while the relation directly to the thing signified is in 
the rationale of a cause, or of an effect, or of some similar 
rationale; whence the thing which is a sign is deter- 
mined to be a creature of the signified, and so it 
represents that significate rather than another. 

Moreover, the relation itself of a sign, speaking most 
formally as it is a sign, respects a knowing power indi- 
rectly, not inasmuch as the sign is apprehensible by the 
power and an object thereof, but inasmuch as the thing 
itself signified is manifestable to the power. The sign at- 
tains the signified or substitutes for it, not absolutely, but 
as it is manifestable to a cognitive power: in that man- 
ner a cognitive power is involved virtually and indirectly. 
Wherefore, even though the relation of an object or ap- 
prehensible thing to a cognitive power understood direct- 
ly and in the mode of an object is mind-dependent, yet 
the relation to a significate, even as something manifes- 
table to a cognitive power, can be mind-independent, 
because in an object being signifiable and representable 
to a cognitive power is something mind-independent, 
even though the object does not mind-independently 
respect the power; for how an object respects a power 
is one thing, quite another is what being manifestable 
to a power is in an object. To be manifestable and ob- 
jectifiable is something independent of mind, and that 
upon which a cognitive power depends and by which 
it is specified. Nay rather, it is because an object is thus 
mind-independent that it does not depend upon a cog- 
nitive power by a mind-independent relation. Where- 
fore, since a sign under the formality of sign does 
not respect a cognitive power directly (for this is the 
formality of an object), but respects a thing signifi- 

mensuratum. Signum enim respicit poten- 
tiam relatione non mutua, cum signum 
teneat se ex parte obiecti repraesentantis 
et non se habet ut mensuratum a poten- 

5 tia, ergo ut mensurans illam; potentia enim 
rem apprehensam non mensurat, sed ab ea 
mensuratur, quia ab ea perficitur. 

RESPONDETUR haec argumenta 7 et simi- 
lia, quae eodem modo multiplicantur, pro- 

w bare id, quod a principio diximus, scilicet 
quod relatio ad potentiam ex parte signi, 
ut obiectum eius est, et ad signatum, ut ad 
terminos directos, non est una relatio, sed 
multiplex. Neutra tamen est relatio signi 

is formaliter, sed relatio directe respiciens 
potentiam est relatio obiecti sub ratione et 
formalitate obiecti, respiciens vero rem 
signatam directe est in ratione causae vel 
effectus aut alterius similis rationis; unde 

20 res, quae est signum, determinatur, ut sit 
aliquid signati, et sic illud potius quam 
aliud repraesentet. 

Ceterum relatio ipsa signi formalissime 
loquendo ut signum est, respicit potentiam 

25 in obliquo, non quatenus signum appre- 
hensibile est a potentia et obiectum Ulius, 
sed quatenus ipsum signatum est manifes- 
table potentiae, et attingendo signatum vel 
substituendo pro ipso non absolute, sed ut 

30 manifestable est potentiae, ibi virtualiter 
et in obliquo involvitur potentia. Quare, 
licet relatio obiecti seu apprehensibilis ad 
potentiam directe sumptam et per modum 
obiecti sit rationis, tamen relatio ad 

35 signatum, etiam ut manifestable potentiae, 
realis esse potest, quia in obiecto esse 
significabile et repraesentabile potentiae ali- 
quid reale est, licet non realiter respiciat 
potentiam; aliud enim est quomodo obiec- 

40 turn respiciat potentiam, aliud, quid sit in 
obiecto esse manifestable potentiae. Esse 
manifestabile et obicibile aliquid reale est, 
et id, a quo dependet potentia et a quo 
specificatur; imo quia ita reale est, non 

45 dependet a potentia reali relatione. Quare 
cum signum sub formalitate signi non res- 
piciat potentiam directe, hoc enim est for- 
malitatis obiecti, sed respiciat rem signifi- 



[668al5-bl9] 161 

able or manifestable to a cognitive power, a cognitive 
power as indirectly included in that manifestable ob- 
ject is attained by a mind-independent sign-relation, 
because the cognitive power is not respected separately, 
but as included in that which is mind-independent in 
the object as something manifestable to a cognitive power; 
where the whole which is attained in act and formally 
is mind-independent, and the power whose object it 
is enters there merely as something connoted and in- 
directly. For example, a science which treats of colors 
as they are an object of sight really respects colors as 
being specificative of itself, although the colors them- 
selves virtually include an order to the cognitive power 
for which they are the objects, which order is mind- 
dependent in the colors themselves, but the order of the 
science to those objects is not mind-dependent. But that 
respect by which a sign directly respects a cognitive 
power by stimulating it to cognize the sign itself as well 
as the significate whose vicegerent the sign is, is a mind- 
dependent respect, but distinct from the sign-relation by 
which the sign respects the significate, because it is the 
respect of an object, not formally the respect of a sign 
as sign. 

Hence it appears that the response to the second argu- 
ment 8 is that it proceeds from the relation by which a 
sign directly and formally respects a cognitive power, 
which is a relation of measure or of object measuring, 
not from the relation by which a sign respects the 
significate inasmuch as the significate is an object 
manifestable to a cognitive power, where the power is 
attained only indirectly and virtually, not through a mind- 
dependent respect. And so a sign is not a measure of a 
cognitive power, but an instrument of the signified in rela- 
tion to a cognitive power. 

A second argument against my thesis: These 
termini, namely, significate and cognitive power, are 
distinct even in the formality of terminus, because the 
one is a terminus as something which is attained direct- 
ly, while the other is a terminus as something to which; 
they are distinguished therefore more than materially. 
For when a sign has several inadequate significates, then 
it is related to them as to several termini materially 
diverse, therefore power and signified are distinguished 
in the rationale of terminus more than materially. 

This is confirmed by the fact that signs are spe- 
cifically distinguished on the basis of an order to a 
cognitive power, as is clear in the division of signs 
into formal and instrumental signs, which are diverse 

cabilem seu manifestabilem potentiae, sic 
potentia ut in obliquo inclusa in illo obiec- 
to manifestabili attingitur a reali relatione 
signi, quia non respicitur potentia seor- 

5 sum, sed ut inclusa in eo, quod reale est 
obiecto ut manifestabili potentiae; ubi to- 
tum, quod attingitur actu et formaliter 
reale est, et solum potentia, cuius est ob- 
iectum, intrat ibi de connotate et in obli- 

w quo. Sicut srientia, quae agit de coloribus, 
ut sunt obiectum visus, realiter respicit 
colores, utpote specificativum sui, licet 
ipsi indudant virtualiter ordinem ad po- 
tentiam, cuius sunt obiecta, qui ordo est 

25 rationis in ipsis coloribus, non ordo sci- 
entiae ad ipsa obiecta rationis est. Die vero 
respectus, quo signum respicit directe po- 
tentiam, movendo earn tarn ad cognos- 
cendum se quam signatum, cuius gerit 

20 vices, respectus rationis est, sed distinc- 
tus a relatione signi, qua respicit signa- 
tum, quia est respectus obiecti, non for- 
maliter signi ut signum. 

Ethincpatet ad secundum argu- 

25 mentum, 8 quod procedit de relatione, 
qua signum directe et formaliter respicit 
potentiam, quae est relatio mensurae seu 
obiecti mensurantis, non de relatione, qua 
respicit signatum quatenus obiectum 

so manifestable potentiae, ubi potentia 
solum in obliquo et virtualiter attingitur, 
non per respectum rationis. Et sic signum 
non est mensura potentiae, sed instru- 
mentum signati ad illam. 

35 Secundo arguitur: Termini isti, scilicet 
signatum et potentia, sunt distincti etiam 
in formalitate termini, cum unus sit ter- 
minus ut quod et directe attactus, alius sit 
terminus ut cui; distinguuntur ergo plus 

40 quam materialiter. Quando enim signum 
habet plura signata inadaequata, tune se 
habet ad ilia ut ad plures terminos materi- 
aliter diversos, ergo plus quam materialiter 
distinguuntur in ratione terminorum po- 

45 tentia et signatum. 

Conf irmatur, quia ex ordine ad po- 
tentiam distinguuntur specifice signa, ut 
patet in signo formali et instrumentali, 

8 159/44-160/7. 

162 [668bl9-669a21] 


species within the genus of sign, and are not distin- 
guished on the side of the significate; for a concept of 
fire, for example, can represent the same thing that smoke 
does, which is a sign of fire, but a concept of fire and 
smoke are distinguished in their mode of functioning 
relative to a cognitive power, to wit, the concept by in- 
forming and the smoke by objectifying. Therefore the 
order to a cognitive power exists directly and not indirect- 
ly in a sign, since indeed that order specifies and dis- 
tinguishes kinds of sign. 

This argument can also be stated conversely, be- 
cause signs can be divided into diverse species or kinds 
according to the order to the signified when the order 
to a power remains invariant; this therefore is a sign that 
there are distinct relations [making up the being proper 
to the sign, one to a cognitive power and another to a 
thing signified], for otherwise when the one relation 
varied the other would vary also. The antecedent is true 
in fact. For diverse concepts are varied by diverse 
represented objects while the relation to the cognitive 
power remains of the same rationale in all. 

It is confirmed secondly: The rationale of a 
sign and the rationale of an image differ in this, that an 
image does not respect a cognitive power to which it 
would represent, but the exemplar or idea of which it is 
an imitation. For even if an image represents to a cognitive 
power, this is incidental to the fact that it is an image. 
A sign, however, essentially respects a cognitive power 
as that to which it would represent. Therefore a relation 
to a power is intrinsic to a sign and is constitutive of it, 
since this relation essentially distinguishes a sign from 
an image. 

Finally, a third confirmation comes from the 
fact that a relation to a cognitive power remains in a sign 
even after the relation to a thing signified has been 
destroyed, as is clear when the thing signified does not 
exist, and yet the sign leads the cognitive power to an 
awareness of that significate just as before. In such a case 
the sign respects the cognitive power in the rationale of 
something conductive and significative just as it did before 
the significate ceased to exist, and thus the relation to 
the power remains. 

The response to the principal argument 9 is that the 
signified which is represented, and the power to which 
the representation is made, are not two termini adequate 
and distinct in the rationale of terminus, but integrate 
one terminus established out of something direct and 
something indirect. Just as, for example, in the practice 

quae sunt diversa specie in genere signi, 
et non distinguuntur ex parte significati; 
possunt enim idem repraesentare con- 
ceptus, v. g. ignis et fumus, qui est 

5 signum ignis, sed distinguuntur ex 
modo se habendi erga potentiam infor- 
mando vel obiciendo. Ergo ordo ad 
potentiam habet se in recto et non in 
obliquo in signo, siquidem illud spe- 

w cificat et distinguit. 

Potest etiam e converso fieri hoc 
argumentum, quia potest signum dividi 
per diversas species secundum ordinem 
ad signatum manente invariato ordine 

25 ad potentiam; ergo signum est, quod 
sunt relationes distinctae, alioquin 
variata una variaretur et alia. Antecedens 
vero constat. Nam diversi conceptus 
variantur ex diversis obiectis repraesen- 

20 tatis manente relatione ad potentiam 
eiusdem rationis in omnibus. 

Confirmatur secundo: Ratio 
signi et ratio imaginis in hoc differunt, 
quod imago non respicit potentiam, cui 

25 repraesentet, sed exemplar seu ideam, 
cuius sit imitatio. Si quid vero repraesen- 
tat potentiae, per accidens est ad ima- 
ginem. Signum vero per se respicit po- 
tentiam, ut cui repraesentet. Ergo relatio 

30 ad potentiam signo est intrinseca et de 
constitutive eius, cum essentialiter dis- 
tinguat signum ab imagine. 

Denique tertio confirmatur, 
quia manet relatio ad potentiam in signo 

35 destructa relatione ad signatum, ut 
patet, quando signatum non existit, et 
tamen signum ducit potentiam ad noti- 
tiam illius sicut antea. Ergo respicit 
potentiam in ratione ductivi et signifi- 

40 cativi sicut antea, et sic manet relatio ad 

RESPONDETUR ad principale ar- 
gumentum, 9 quod signatum, quod 
repraesentatur, et potentia, cui fit re- 

45 praesentatio, non sunt duo termini adae- 
quati et distincti in ratione termini, sed 
unum terminum integrant, qui constat 
ex directo et ex obliquo. Sicut in religione 

9 161/35-40. 


[669a21-bl2] 163 


of the virtue of religion, worship, which is rendered, 
and God, to whom it is rendered, are not two adequate 
[i.e., equal and independent] termini, but the one com- 
plete term of religion. And to believe in God reveal- 
ing and to believe in God revealed are not two termini, 5 
but the one terminus of faith, inasmuch as thus is at- 
tained one terminus, which completes not absolutely 
and according to itself, but as modified and respectively 
or connotatively bearing toward something other, just 
as a thing signified is attained as representable to a w 
cognitive power. 

To the first confirmation 10 the response is that the 
division of signs into formal and instrumental is a divi- 
sion into diverse species or kinds which are directly 
taken not just from diverse respects to a cognitive 
power, but from diverse relations to a signified as 
representable to a cognitive power in diverse ways. 11 
For any object is representable by a twofold represen- 
tative medium or means, namely, a means in which 
and a means through which. 12 And the first founds a 20 
formal representation acting within a cognitive power, 
the second founds an instrumental representation 
moving a cognitive power from without. Whence in 
the representable thing itself signified are distinguished 
diverse rationales or fundaments for the relations it ter- 25 
minates from these diverse representations or modes 
of representing in signs, even though the thing repre- 
sented may be materially the same. And similarly, this 
division of signs into instrumental and formal presup- 
poses in the signs themselves diverse manners of so 
stimulatively moving and representing to the cogni- 
tive power, specifically, as an external object or as an 
internal form; yet this is related presuppositively to 
the rationale of sign, 13 whereas the most formal ra- 
tionale of a sign consists in being something substituted 35 
for a significate as representable in this or that way. 

cultus, qui exhibetur, et Deus, cui exhibetur, 
non sunt duo termini adaequati, sed unus 
terminus integer religionis. Et credere Deo 
et Deum, non sunt duo termini, sed unus 
h'dei, quatenus sic attingitur unus terminus, 
quod non absolute et secundum se termi- 
nat, sed ut modificatur et respective seu 
connotative se habet ad aliquid aliud, sicut 
signatum attingitur ut repraesentabile po- 

Ad primam confirmationem 10 re- 
spondetur, quod divisio signi in formale et 
instrumentale est divisio per diversas 
species, quae directe non sumuntur ex solo 
diverso respectu ad potentiam, sed ex diver- 
sa relatione ad signatum ut diverso modo 
repraesentabile potentiae. 11 Est enim 
repraesentabile aliquod obiectum duplici 
medio repraesentativo, scilicet medio in quo 
et medio per quod. 12 Et primum fundat re- 
praesentationem formalem intra potentiam 
informantem, secundum repraesentationem 
instrumentalem extra potentiam moventem. 
Unde in ipso signato repraesentabili in- 
venitur diversa ratio seu fundamentum ad 
terminandum istas diversas repraesenta- 
tiones seu modes repraesentandi in signis, 
licet res repraesentata materialiter sit eadem. 
Et similiter praesupponit in ipsis signis 
diversum modum movendi et repraesentan- 
di potentiae, scilicet ut obiectum extra vel 
ut forma ad intra; hoc tamen praesupposi- 
tive se habet ad rationem signi, 13 for- 
malissima vero ratio se habet ut substituti 
ad signatum, ut tali modo vel tali reprae- 

10 161/45-162/10. 

11 See above, Question 2, 145/10-28, and below, Book II, Question 1, 238/28-45 with 235/15-35. 

12 This distinction between a means "in which" and a means "through which" is elsewhere 
explained by Poinsot (in Book II, Question 1, 224/9-19, 224/29-34) as the difference between a 
means "in which" that is formal and intrinsic to a cognitive power and a means "in which" 
that is a material object existing independently of the power and as a sign of something else. 
Whether it is called a "material and extrinsic means in which" or simply a "means through 
which," what is in question is the sort of means making cognition mediate as opposed to the 
sort of means that does not qualify the immediacy of cognition respecting its objective terminus: 
see Book II, Question 1, 223/16-224/2, 226/35-45, 227/9-228/18, 231/45-233/2; and Question 2, 
250/19-39. The point is also explained by Poinsot in his Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 11. art. 2., Reiser ed., 
III. 358b26-359all, cited below in Book II, Question 2, note 27, p. 249. 

13 The relation of sign to signified, in other words, is necessarily and at once formally distinct 
from and superordinate to a direct relation of sign to power, by the fact that the former relation 
is always ontological, whereas the latter relation may be only transcendental (Book I, Question 1, 

164 [669bl3-37] 


And from this it is clear that the response to the 
converse formulation of the first confirmation 14 is 
that although the order to a cognitive power may 
be of the same rationale in diverse significates, yet 
it is not required that the cognitive power be invol- 
ved by a distinct relation, because it can well be the 
case that sign-relations are specifically varied by a 
diversity of representable objects, even though they 
may coincide or not differ on the side of the con- 
notation indirectly included, just as, for example, 
faith and opinion coincide in the mode of obscur- 
ity, not in formal specifying character. 

To the second confirmation 15 1 answer: because 
a sign respects a signified precisely as representable 
to a cognitive power, as its vicegerent and conse- 
quently subordinate to it, but an image respects its 
exemplar as something imitable and as the princi- 
ple from which the image is originated and expres- 
sed, and so can be not unequal to that exemplar, for 
this reason, sign and image have distinct formalities 
or formal rationales of terminating on the side of that 

Et ex hoc patet ad alteram partem ar- 
gumenti, 14 quod ordo ad potentiam, licet sit 
eiusdem rationis in diversis signatis, non 
tamen requiritur, quod distincta relatione at- 

5 tingatur, quia bene stat, quod relationes signi 
specie varientur ex diversitate obiecti 
repraesentabilis, licet conveniant seu non dif- 
ferant ex parte connotationis in obliquo in- 
clusae, sicut fides et opinio conveniunt in 

w modo obscuritatis, non in ratione formali spe- 
cif icante. 

Ad secundum confirmationem 15 
respondetur, quod quia signum respicit 
signatum praecise ut repraesentabile ad 

15 potentiam ut vices eius gerens et conse- 
quenter inferius ipso, imago autem respicit 
suum exemplar ut imitabile et ut principium, 
a quo originatur et exprimitur, et sic potest 
illi non inaequalis esse, ideo ex parte ipsius 

20 termini, quern directe respiciunt, habent 
distinctas formalitates seu rationes formales 

123/13-25, 126/23-127/6 and 128/9-19, esp. 19). It is precisely this formal superordination that 
makes possible in the first place signs which are such without being themselves initially cognized 
objectively in their own right, i.e., signs which relate the knower to external objects immediate- 
ly (formal signs: cf. Ransdell, 1979, as discussed in Deely, 1980b and 1985). Cf. this Question, 
158/1-159/6, with Book I, Question 2, 151/9-14 above. The following diagram, based on a 1975 
sketch by the Adlerian psychologist P. Lawrence Belove, is useful here: 





(Instrumental signs 




*^ c * ORDER OF 


IK (jf O/(~) - ' rt\fl* 


to the specifically superordinate character of the constitutive sign relation, refer back 
0-21 in this Question, and to Book I, Question 2, esp. the 1663 Lyons variant cited in 
n 1T7 flHovp 

i*urtner iw nn_ oLy^\>u.i\.cij.iy OUL/^J-UJ. 
to 160/10-21 in this Question, and 
note 4, p. 137 above 

14 162/11-21. 

15 162/22-32. 


[669b37-670a8] 165 

very terminus which they directly respect, even though 
upon the one [i.e., the sign] follows indirectly an order 
to a cognitive power in the very thing signified, which 
it concerns, in the other [i.e., the exemplar] not. And so 
the formal rationale distinguishing in the one case is the 
rationale of a signified as such, in the other case the ra- 
tionale of an exemplar as such, and not in either case the 
cognitive power itself to which representation is made. 16 
To the third confirmation 17 the response is that when 
the order to a thing signified is destroyed, the order to 
a cognitive power, which was included in the significate 
itself indirectly and by connotation, is also destroyed. Yet 
because this order to the nonexistent thing signified re- 
mains in the sign fundamentally and virtually, that order 
to a cognitive power, which goes with a thing signified, 
also remains fundamentally. 18 At the same time, the sign 
can formally retain in itself the rationale of a stimulating 
object or of a representing form, which rationale is a rela- 
tion other than the sign-relation, as has been said. 

terminandi, licet ad unam sequatur ordo 
ad potentiam in obliquo in ipso signato, 
quod tangit, in alia non. Et ita formalis 
ratio distinguens in utroque est ratio 

5 signati ut sic, ratio exemplaris ut sic, non 
ipsa potentia, cui fit repraesentatio. 16 

Ad tertiam confirmationem 17 
respondetur, quod destructo ordine ad 
signatum destruitur ordo ad potentiam, 

w qui in ipso signato in obliquo et con- 
notato includebatur. Quia tamen rema- 
net fundamentaliter et virtualiter ordo 
iste in signo ad signatum non existens, 
remanet etiam fundamentaliter ille ordo 

15 ad potentiam, qui cum signato vadit. 18 
Formaliter tamen retinere potest signum 
in se rationem obiecti moventis vel for- 
mae repraesentantis, quae est alia relatio 
a signo, ut dictum est. 

16 See above, Question 1, 132/47-133/12, and below, Sequel to Book I, 218/29-48. 

17 162/33-42. 

18 See Question 1 above, 125/31-39 and note 25 thereon. 



In What Way Are Objects Divided into 
Stimulus Objects and Terminative Objects 


Qualiter Dividatur Obiectum in 
Motivum et Terminativum 

The present discussion presupposes the definitions 
of stimulus and terminative objects given in the Sum- 
mulae books. 1 With those definitions presupposed . . . 

Our first conclusion is this: Object in general, as it 
abstracts from stimulus and terminus, consists in this, 5 
that it be something extrinsic, from which derives and 
upon which depends the intrinsic rationale and 
specific character of any power or act; and this is 
reduced to the category of an extrinsic formal cause 
not causing existence, but specification. w 

To understand this conclusion, advert to the fact 
pointed out by Cajetan in his Commentary on the Sum- 
ma theologica, I, q. 77, art. 3, that some things are en- 
tirely absolute, depending in their specification and 
constitution on nothing extrinsic to themselves, such 
things as substance, quantity, etc. Other things are en- 
tirely relative, those which have their whole content 
in being toward another and depend upon that other 
as on a pure terminus. Yet other things are in- 
termediate between these, namely, those things which 20 
have in themselves some definable content and an ab- 
solute essence, so that they have something other than 
to respect and to be referred; yet they depend in their 
constitution and specification on something extrinsic, 
not for respecting, but for acting or causing or ac- 25 
complishing something. And it is in this intermediate 
manner that powers and acts and habits stand with 


Supponendae sunt definitiones istorum 
obiectorum, quas 1. libro Summul. 1 tra- 
didimus. Et illis suppositis. 

SIT PRIMA CONCLUSIO: Obiectum in com- 
muni, ut abstrahit a motive et terminativo, 
consistit in hoc, quod sit aliquid extrin- 
secum, a quo sumitur et dependet intrin- 
seca ratio et species alicuius potentiae vel 
actus; et hoc red ucitur ad genus causae f or- 
malis extrinsecae non causantis existen- 
tiam, sed specificationem. 

Ut conclusio intelligatur, adverte ex 
Caietano 1. p. q. 77. art. 3., quod aliquae 
res sunt prorsus absolutae, in sui specifi- 
catione et constitutione a nullo extrinseco 
dependentes, ut substantia, quantitas etc. 
Aliae sunt prorsus relativae, quae totum 
suum esse habent ad aliud et ab illo pen- 
dent ut a puro termino. Aliae sunt mediae 
inter istas, quae in se quidem habent quid- 
ditatem et essentiam absolutam, ita quod 
aliquid aliud habent quam respicere et 
referri; tamen in sui constitutione et 
specificatione dependent ab aliquo ex- 
trinseco, non ad respiciendum, sed ad 
agendum vel causandum aut aliquid nego- 
tiandum. Et sic se habent potentiae et ac- 

1 c. 2., 26/6-20. 


[670a48-671alO] 167 

respect to the things which they attain, and are said 
to have a transcendental order to them. 

Note well that it is one thing for some thing to 
be entirely absolute or independent of anything ex- 
trinsic in its specification, but quite another thing 
for it to be such in its existence. For in existing no 
thing is absolute, i.e., independent of everything ex- 
ternal to itself, except God alone, who is from him- 
self, all other things being dependent on God. But 
for the present we are speaking of the dependence 
of a thing in its specification upon something extrin- 
sic, and it is in this way that an object stands relative 
to a power. For an object does not exist relative to 
a cognitive power or act as effecting or influencing 
existence; for this does not pertain to an object, but 
to something producing. Yet the specification of a 
cognitive act or power by its very nature depends 
on an object, even abstracting from the object's 

Lastly, note that, even though it is an extrinsic 
formal cause, an object differs from an idea or ex- 
emplary cause, both because an idea is that in whose 
similitude an ideated thing comes to be, but an ob- 
ject is not something in whose likeness a cognitive 
power or its act exists; and because an idea expresses 
a cause that is an exemplar by way of origin, but an 
object is not a principle of origin in respect of a power 
or an act of a power; and because, finally, an idea 
is an efficacious exemplary cause, and in this func- 
tion it also causes existence, for it enters into the 
formation of an actual singular, and as such the idea 
belongs to practical understanding extending itself 
to a work and to the existence of an effect; but an 
object does not move a power or act as regards ex- 
ercise or efficacy but only as regards what is formal 
and as regards a specification. 

So understood, therefore, the stated conclusion 
is derived from ST. THOMAS'S DICTUM in the Summa 
theologica, I-II, q. 9, art. 1, that "an act is specified 
according to the rationale of the object," and that 
an object affects or moves [a power or act] by deter- 
mining it in the mode of a formal principle through 
which an action is specified in the order of mind- 
independent natural things." And in I, q. 77, art. 
3, St. Thomas says that "an object is related to a 
passive power as a principle and moving cause," 
"but it is related to an active power as a terminus 
and end." "From these two," he says, "an action 
receives a specific character, namely, from a princi- 
ple or from an end, that is, a terminus." There- 
fore St. Thomas thinks that an object of a passive 

tus et habitus circa ea, quae attingunt, 
dicunturque habere ordinem transcen- 
dentalem ad ea. 

Et bene nota, quod aliud est rem 

5 aliquam esse omnino absolutam ab aliquo 
extrinseco in specificatione sua, aliud in ex- 
istentia sua. In existendo enim nulla res 
est absoluta ab aliquo extrinseco, nisi so- 
lus Deus, qui est a se, reliqua sunt a Deo. 

10 At vero in praesenti loquimur de depen- 
dentia rei ab aliquo extrinseco in speci- 
ficatione sua, et sic obiectum se habet ad 
potentiam. Nee enim ad potentiam vel ac- 
tum se habet ut efficiens seu influens ex- 

35 istentiam; id enim non ad obiectum per- 
tinet, sed ad producens. Ab obiecto 
autem pendet specificatio actus vel po- 
tentiae secundum se, etiam existentia 

20 D e n i q u e dif f ert obiectum ab idea seu 
causa exemplari, etiamsi causa formalis ex- 
trinseca sit, turn quia idea est, ad cuius 
similitudinem fit ideatum; obiectum autem 
non est id, ad cuius similitudinem se habet 

25 potentia vel actus eius; turn quia idea dicit 
causam exemplarem per modum originis, 
obiectum autem non est principium originis 
respectu potentiae vel actus; turn denique 
quia idea est causa exemplaris efficax, et 

30 pro hac parte etiam causat existentiam, in- 
fluit enim ad formandum rem in actu et 
in singulari, sicque est in intellectu prac- 
tice, qui se extendit ad opus et ad existen- 
tiam effectus; obiectum autem non movet 

35 quoad exercitium seu efficientiam, sed so- 
lum quoad formale et quoad specificatio- 


D. THOMA 1. 2. q. 9. art. 1. dicente, quod 
40 secundum rationem obiecti specificatur 
actus, et quod obiectum movet deter- 
minando ad modum principii formalis, a 
quo in rebus naturalibus specificatur actio. 
Et. 1. p. q. 77. art. 3. dicit, quod obiec- 
45 turn ad potentiam passivam comparatur ut 
principium et causa movens, ad actum 
vero potentiae activae comparatur ut ter- 
minus et finis. Ex his autem duobus, 
inquit, actio speciem recipit, scilicet ex 
so principio vel fine seu termino. Ergo sen- 
tit D. Thomas obiectum passivae et activae 

168 [671alO-bl9] 


power coincides with an object of an active power in 
this, that it specifies an act. And finally, in his Com- 
mentary on Book II of Aristotle's treatise, On the Soul, 
toward the end of reading 6: 2 "It is manifest," he says, 
"that every object is related to an operation of the soul 
either as something active or as a terminus; but from 
both is the operation specified." The word "every" 
here expresses the universal rationale of an object. 

THE REASON FOR THIS is that although active and 
passive powers are founded on rationales as diverse 
as are act and potency, because the one is for acting, 
the other for receiving, as St. Thomas best explains in 
the Summa theologica, I, q. 25, art. 1, yet the objects of 
both agree in this, that they extrinsically determine or 
perfect a power or its act. For in respect of a passive 
power, it is certain that an object functions as 
something perfecting extrinsically [operating from 
without], since it reduces that power from potency to 
act, for it is coupled to that power as a principle of the 
power's act, which pertains to actuality and perfection; 
and in respect of an active power, an object is related 
as terminus and end. But though what is purely a ter- 
minus cannot perfect, as, for example, in the case of 
relatives, owing to the fact that a relation does not ad- 
just or tend by acting productively, but simply by 
respecting, and though similarly what is simply effect 
does not perfect but is only perfected, as, for exam- 
ple, creatures in respect of God are effected by God 
in such a way that his action does not depend in itself 
on their termination; nevertheless, in created actions 
termination gives perfection to the acts, because if they 
were not terminated, they would be neither perfect nor 
complete, but, as it were, in transition and tendency; 
they are perfected therefore by that very determina- 
tion toward which they tend. And so St. Thomas says 
in his Disputed Questions on the Power of God, q. 7, art. 
10, 3 that in the effect or reception itself can be per- 
ceived a kind of good and perfection of the one exer- 
cising a causal influence, as in the case of univocal 
agents, which perpetuate a specific kind of being 
through their effects, and in the case of the other agents 
which move, act, or cause only as they are moved; "for 
from the very movement that they undergo they are 
ordered to producing effects. And similarly in all cases 
where a good of any kind accrues to the cause from 
the effect." Thus St. Thomas. From this doctrine it is 
clear how a terminative object can be something perfec- 
tive of a power or an action. 

potentiae convenire in hoc, quod est speci- 
ficare actum. Ac denique 2. de Anima lect. 
6. circa finem: 2 Manifestum est, inquit, 
quod omne obiectum comparatur ad oper- 

5 ationem animae vel ut activum vel ut finis; 
ex utroque autem specif icatur operation 
Ubi ly omne universalem rationem obiecti 

ET HUIUS RATIO EST, quia licet potentia 

w activa et passiva fundentur in rationibus ita 
diversis, sicut sunt actus et potentia, quia 
una est ad agendum, alia ad recipiendum, 
ut optime docet S. Thomas 1. p. q. 25. art. 
1., tamen utriusque obiectum convenit in 

15 hoc, quod est determinare vel perficere ex- 
trinsece potentiam vel eius actum. Nam 
respectu potentiae passivae constat, quod 
obiectum se habet ut perficiens extrinsece, 
cum reducat illam de potentia ad actum, 

20 comparatur enim ad illam ut principium ac- 
tus eius, quod pertinet ad actualitatem et 
perfectionem; ad potentiam autem activam 
comparatur ut terminus et finis. Licet 
autem quod est pure terminus, non per- 

25 ficiat, sicut in relativis, eo quod relatio non 
tendit agendo, sed pure respiciendo, et 
similiter quod est pure effectus, non per- 
ficiat, sed pure perficiatur, sicut creaturae 
respectu Dei, quae ita efficiuntur a Deo, 

so quod ab earum terminatione eius actio in 
se non pendet; tamen in actibus creatis ter- 
minatio dat perfectionem actibus, quia si 
terminati non sint, perfect! non sunt nee 
completi, sed quasi in via et tendentia; per- 

35 ficiuntur ergo determinatione ipsa, ad 
quam tendunt. Et ita dicit S. Thomas 7. de 
Potentia art. 10., 3 quod in ipso effectu seu 
passione attenditur quoddam bonum et 
perfectio moventis, sicut in univocis agen- 

40 tibus, quae per suos effectus perpetuant 
esse speciei, et in aliis, quae mota movent 
vel agunt vel causant; nam ex ipso suo 
motu ordinantur ad effectus producendos. 
Et similiter in omnibus, quibus quodcum- 

45 que bonum causae provenit ex effectu. 
Ita D. Thomas. Ex qua doctrina constat, 
quomodo obiectum terminativum possit 
esse perfectivum potentiae vel actionis. 

2 Pa XX. 55 b. 

3 Pa VIII. 165 a. 


[671b20-672a27] 169 

Second conclusion: Even as distinguished from a ter- 
minative object, the true rationale of an object is 
preserved in a stimulus object. 

This conclusion is against those who think that the 
rationale of an object is preserved only in a terminative 
object, but who exclude a stimulus object from the ra- 
tionale of an object, on the grounds that it bespeaks pro- 
duction; what belongs to an object as it is an object, 
however, is not to produce, but to specify. 

But a great equivocation is perpetrated in the use of 
the term "stimulus" by applying it only to a produc- 
tive (an efficient) cause, because it should be applied 
also to other types of cause, as an end, for example, is 
said to stimulate or motivate, or as an object proposed 
by the will stimulates or motivates the will, and an ex- 
emplar stimulates relative to its imitation. Following this 
common usage, therefore, we distinguish between 
something stimulating through the mode of exercise and 
through the mode of specification. The first mode per- 
tains to an efficient cause, the second one to a formal 
object. And this follows from the passages cited from 
St. Thomas 4 concerning the preceding conclusion. For 
there St. Thomas perspicuously teaches that a stimulus 
object specifies a passive power and is related to it as 
a moving principle, and so is prior to its specificate in 
the process of defining. Therefore an object in the ra- 
tionale of a stimulus has the true rationale of an object 
and not of productive efficiency; for something effect- 
ing insofar as it is effecting respects the existence of the 
thing which it produces, not the specification nor the 
principles of definition, while St. Thomas nevertheless 
says, especially in the passage already cited from his 
Commentary on Book II of Aristotle's treatise On the Soul, 
reading 6, 5 that "objects are prior to the operations of 
the soul in the way of defining," and he had been speak- 
ing of terminative and of stimulus objects alike. The ra- 
tionale of being a stimulus, therefore, does not denote 
efficiency in an object, but is contained within the limits 
of an objective form, that is, of something specif icative. 

Our conclusion is confirmed finally by the fact that a 
passive power, insofar as it is such, is specifiable by some- 
thing extrinsic, since indeed a passive power is ordered 
on the basis of the kind of thing it is to that external speci- 
ficative, and therefore its specific character, the kind of 
thing that it is, is not entirely absolute in itself and inde- 
pendent of every extrinsic factor. But whatever is not en- 
tirely absolute in itself, but is orderable to another as a 
consequence of what it is, is specifiable by that other. But 

SECUNDA CONCLUSIO: In obiecto moti- 
vo, etiam ut a terminativo distinguitur, 
salvatur vera ratio obiecti. 

Est contra aliquos, qui existimant ratio- 
5 nem obiecti in solo terminativo salvari, ex- 
cludunt autem motivum a ratione obiec- 
ti, quia dicit efficientiam; obiecto autem 
ut obiecto non convenit efficere, sed speci- 

w Ceterum magna aequivocatio 
committitur in illo termino , , mo- 
tivum" applicando illud solum causae ef- 
ficienti, cum etiam aliis causis applicetur, 
sicut finis dicitur movere, et obiectum pro- 
is positum per voluntatem movet illam, et 
exemplar movet ad sui imitationem. Sic 
ergo distinguimus motivum per modum 
exercitii et per modum specificationis, et il- 
lud primum pertinet ad causam efficien- 
20 tern, hoc secundum ad obiectum formale. 
Et constat hoc ex D. Thoma locis cit. 4 
praec. conclusione. Ibi enim perspicue do- 
cet S. Thomas obiectum motivum specif i- 
care potentiam passivam et comparari ad 
25 ipsam ut principium movens, et sic est 
prius suo specificate in via definiendi. 
Ergo in ratione motivi habet veram ratio- 
nem obiecti et non efficientiae; efficiens 
enim in quantum efficiens respicit esse rei, 
30 quod producit, non specificationem nee 
definitionis principia, cum tamen D. 
Thomas specialiter in 2. de Anima lect. 6. 
cit. 5 dicat, quqd obiecta sunt priora oper- 
ationibus animae in via definiendi, et 
35 locutus fuerat tarn de obiectis terminati- 
vis quam activis seu motivis. Ratio ergo 
motivi non efficientiam dicit in obiecto, 
sed intra limites obiectivae formae, id est 
specif icativae . continetur . 
40 Acdenique confirmatur, quiapo- 
tentia passiva in quantum talis ab aliquo 
extrinseco specificabilis est, siquidem ex 
specie sua ordinatur ad illud, atque adeo 
species eius non est omnino absoluta in 
45 se et independens ab omni extrinseco. 
Quidquid autem non est omnino absolu- 
tum in se, sed ex sua specie ordinabile ad 
aliud, specif icabile est ab illo. Sed poten- 

4 at 167/37-168/8. 

5 Pa XX. 55 b. 

170 [672a27-46] TRACTATUS DE SIGNIS 

a passive power as such is not related to an extrinsic tia passiva ut talis non comparatur ad ex- 

specificative as to a terminus, but as to a stimulus, trinsecum specif icativum ut ad terminum, 

because a passive power is in potency to be actuated, sed ut ad motivum, quia est in potentia, 

not for its actuality to be terminated; for the power in ut actuetur, non ut actualitas eius ter- 

question is a passive, not an active, power. Therefore 5 minetur; est enim potentia passiva, non ac- 

that which is its stimulus is truly a specif icative object. tiva. Ergo id, quod est motivum eius, est 

You might say: at least a stimulus object must vere obiectum specif icativum. 

concur efficiently with a power in the production of DICES: Saltern obiectum motivum debet 

an act; therefore the rationale of stimulus in an object efficienter concurrere cum potentia ad ac- 

pertains to the order of productive, i.e., efficient, w turn; ergo ratio motivi in obiecto pertinet 

causality. ad genus efficientiae. 

The response to this is that, in the first place, the con- Respondetur hoc imprimis non cur- 
elusion does not hold in respect of every power, but rere respectu omnis potentiae, sed tantum 
only in the case of a cognitive power, in which case it in potentia cognoscitiva, in qua est pro- 
is more probable that an impressed specifier concurs is babilius, quod species in genere efficientis 
with the power in the production of the act. 6 But this concurrat ad actum cum potentia. 6 Ceterum 

6 Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 6. art. 3., Reiser ed., III. 189b41-190b2: "Et ratio est, quid cognitio est actus 
potentiae assimilativus el productivus spedei expressae. Sed potentia sola non est sufficiens principium 
effectivum huius similitudinis expressae, siquidem non potest ipsi soli assimilari talis effectus. Ergo oportet 
assignare alterum principium effectivum, cui simul cum potentia assimiletur iste effectus- illud autem prin- 
cipium, cui effectus assimilatur, effectivum est. Non est autem aliud principium, cui assimiletur species 
expressa ut egrediens a potentia, nisi impressa, quae determinat illam ad tale obiectum. Ergo cum in tali 
egressione, quae effectiva est, egrediatur a potentia et specie ilia cognitio et similitudo, manifestum est, 
quod non sola potentia est principium effectivum, sed potentia ut determinata per speciem, et consequenter 
species ipsa effective cooperatur. . . . [D]e concursu vitali dicimus, quod species non est principium concur- 
sus vitalis radicale et principale, sed determinativum et specificativum eius, eo quod potentia ista vitalis 
dependet ab obiecto in suo concursu ut a determinante et specificante. Principium autem concursus vitalis 
per modum determinantis non oportet, quod sit intrinsecum, sed ab extrinseco potest provenire, sicut habi- 
tus, qui supervenit potentiae et cum ipsa concurrit effective, et tamen potest ab extrinseco provenire. Sed 
est differentia, quod habitus sen lumen determinat potentiam ex parte virtutis et confortando vires eius 
erga determinatum obiectum, species autem solum repraesentando et uniendo intentionaliter obiectum, et 
hoc simul cum potentia parit notitiam etiam concurrendo effective, sicut in generatione animalis concurrit 
active semen viri, quod potest magis ac magis perfici intra lineam suae activitatis et virtutis, sicut potentia 
per habitum, sed tamen ulterius indiget semine femineo, quod ex coniunctione ad spirituosam virtutem 
seminis virilis effective influit in productionem foetus." "The reason for this is that cognition is an 
assimilative action by a power productive of an expressed specification. But the cognitive power 
alone is not the sufficient productive principle of this expressed similitude, since indeed a given 
effect cannot be assimilated to itself alone. Another productive principle must therefore be as- 
signed, to which together with the power this effect might be assimilated; but that principle 
to which an effect is assimilated is a productive principle. But there is no principle to which 
an expressed specification as issuing from the power might be assimilated other than the impressed 
specification that determines that power to that effect. Since therefore in such an issuing, 
which is productive, that cognition and similitude issue from the power and the specification, 
it is evident that the power alone is not the productive principle, but the power as determined 
through the specifying form, and consequently the form of the specification itself cooper- 
ates productively. . . . [O]f the vital concurrence we say that the specifying form is not the 
radical and principal principle, but determinative and specificative of it, from the fact that the 
vital power in question depends upon the object in its concurrence as upon something deter- 
mining and specifying. Yet the principle determining a vital concurrence need not be intrinsic, 
but can come from without, just as a habit supervenes upon a power and concurs with it pro- 
ductively, and can nevertheless arise from outside the power. But there is this difference, that 
a habit or light determines a power on the side of the power by strengthening its energies toward 
a determinate object, whereas a specifying form determines the power only by representing 
and intentionally uniting the object, and this object then together with the power gives birth 
to an awareness by also concurring productively, just as in the generation of an animal the male 
seed actively concurs, which can be more and more perfected within the line of its own activity 
and power, like a power by a habit, and yet needs nevertheless the female seed, which from 


[672a46-b42] 171 

efficiency is by no means the formal and essential ra- 
tionale of the specifier, which essentially need only be 
representative and vicarious of the object on which the 
cognitive act depends in its specification. But that the 
act may in fact also depend on the stimulus object ef- 
fectively as regards existence does not pertain to the 
object insofar as it is an object, nor does it pertain to 
the impressed specifying form or stimulus as precise- 
ly representative and in the capacity of the object, but 
because the specifier intrinsically determines and ac- 
tuates the power, which, thus activated and determin- 
ed, flows vitally and effectively into an act. For this 
reason, just as the vitality of the power effectively has 
an influence, so also do the intrinsic actuality and deter- 
mination of the object have an influence in eliciting the 
act in its specification, which depends on the object. 
But if you should ask how the rationale of a stimulus 
should be understood in a case of an objective cause, 
when it is supposed that an objective cause is not some- 
thing moving in the mode of a productive cause, the re- 
sponse, based on what has been said, is that it is stimu- 
lating or moving as regards specification, not as regards 
exercise. This is explained by St. Thomas in his Summa 
theologica, I-II, q. 9, art. 1, when he says that "a power 
or vis of the soul can be in potency in two ways, in one 
way as regards acting or not acting, in another way as 
regards acting in this way or that; as the power of sight, 
for example, sometimes sees, sometimes does not see, 
and sometimes sees this, say, something white, and 
sometimes that, say, something black. A power therefore 
needs something moving and determining as regards 
these two ways." And determining or moving to act or 
not to act is said of movement on the side of the subject 
or of exercise, but moving to acting in this or that way 
is said of movement and determination on the side of the 
object. And thus St. Thomas goes on to add that "an ob- 
ject moves by determining an act in the mode of a for- 
mal principle." To move in the manner of an agent (or on 

haec efficientia non est formalis et per se 
ratio speciei, quae per se solum dicit, quod 
sit repraesentativa et vicaria obiecti, a quo 
dependet actus in specif icatione. Quod 

5 vero etiam dependeat effective quoad esse, 
non pertinet ad obiectum quatenus obiec- 
tum, nee ad speciem ut praecise repraesen- 
tativa et vice obiecti, sed quia intrinsece 
determinat et actuat potentiam, quae sic ac- 

10 tuata et determinata influit vitaliter et ef- 
fective in actum. Ideo sicut virtus poten- 
tiae effective influit, etiam eius actualitas 
intrinseca et determinatio obiecti influit, ut 
actum in sua specificatione, quae ab obiecto 

15 pendet, eliciat. 

Si autem inquiras, quomodo in- 
telligatur ratio motivi in causa obiectiva, 
supposito quod non est movens per mo- 
dum efficientis, respondetur ex dictis, quod 

20 est movens quoad specificationem, non 
quoad exercitium. Quod explicatur ex Divo 
Thoma 1. 2. q. 9. art. 1. dicente, quod 
potentia seu vis animae potest dupliciter 
esse in potentia, uno modo quantum ad 

25 agere vel non agere, alio modo quantum 
ad agere hoc vel illud; sicut visus quando- 
que videt, quandoque non videt, et quan- 
doque videt hoc, puta album, quandoque 
aliud, puta nigrum. Indiget ergo movente 

30 et determinante quantum ad ista duo. Et 
determinans seu movens ad agere vel non 
agere dicitur movere ex parte subiecti seu 
exercitii, movens autem ad agendum hoc 
vel illud, dicitur movere et determinare ex 

35 parte obiecti. Et ita subdit S. Thomas, 
quod obiectum movet determinando ac- 
tum ad modum principii formalism Distin- 
guitur ergo movere per modum agentis seu 

a conjunction with the living energy of the male effectively influxes into the production of a 

See further ibid., 184b8-22: "Et in hoc differt exemplum vulgare de semine, quod ita est virtus 
generantis in esse naturali, quod nullo modo participat esse ipsius geniti, sed solum est virtus ad illud. 
At vero species impressa ita est virtus obiecti ad eliciendam cognitionem etformandum verbum, quod tamen 
formaliter in se habet esse intentionale, in quo convenit cum obiecto repraesentative, sed non entitative. 
Et cum specie expressa convenit in eodem esse intentionali, licet non sit ita formatum et expressum sicut 
in ipso verbo." "An impressed form of specification differs from the common example of seed 
in this respect. Whereas the male seed is a power of generating in natural being, such that it 
in no wise shares in the being of the individual generated, but is only a power or energy toward 
that being, the form of an impressed specification by contrast is a power of the object for elicit- 
ing cognition and the forming of a word such that it yet has within itself an intentional existence 
or being wherein it coincides with the object representatively, but not entitatively. And it coin- 
cides with the expressed specification in this same intentional existence, even though it is not 
as formed and expressed as is the case with the word itself." 

172 [672b43-673b3] 


the side of a subject and of exercise), which pertains 
to the order of a producing cause, therefore, is dis- 
tinguished from a movement in the manner of a stim- 
ulus object, which is reduced to the category of an ex- 
trinsic formal cause, a cause consisting in nothing but 5 
the fact that some power, in order to elicit an act of 
such or such a kind, needs to be actuated or ordered 
relative to an extrinsic object, not only in the termina- 
tion of the act, but also in the elicitation and originating 
of that act, because even to elicit it, the power is not w 
sufficiently determined to a specific kind of act until 
it is determined or moved and completed by an object. 

From this it follows that even though for it to move 
de facto, there must sometimes intervene in the case 
of a stimulus object a production of some thing, which 15 
production pertains to the order of an efficient cause, 
the formal rationale of the stimulus object still does not 
consist in this production essentially, but the produc- 
tion bears on this formal rationale incidentally or con- 
comitantly. There is the greatest reason for this to hap- 20 
pen among the cognitive powers, which cannot be mov- 
ed by objects unless those objects are impressed on the 
cognitive powers and specifying forms are effectively 
produced; but even so, the effective production of 
specifiers is not the objective causality in the formal ra- 25 
tionale of a stimulus object. For to produce specifiers 
effectively does not pertain to the rationale of an ob- 
ject, as is clear in the case of our understanding and 
in the case of the intellect of a pure spirit. For in the 
case of our understanding, it is the agency of the 
understanding that effectively produces specifying 
forms, not the object, and in the case of pure spirits 
God infuses the specifiers, which is to produce them 
effectively; but objects do not act effectively on the in- 
tellect of a pure spirit, according to the opinion of St. 35 
Thomas. And theologians agree that in the case of in- 
fused knowledge God produces or infuses specifying 
forms effectively; they are not produced by the objects 
themselves. The rationale of producing specifiers is 
therefore preserved independently of the rationale of 40 
a specifying object, and conversely. Therefore the for- 
mal rationale of a stimulus object specifying does not 
consist in an efficient production of specifying forms. 

It follows secondly that an object which is a stimulus 
object only is not formally the same as an instrumental 45 
sign, nor is an object that is terminative only the same 
as a secondary object, although these often materially 

The reason why a stimulus object cannot be identi- 
fied with an instrumental sign is that the rationale of so 
an object which is a stimulus object only, while it acts 


ex parte subiecti et exercitii, quod pertinet 
ad genus causae efficientis, a motione per 
modum obiecti motivi, quod reducitur ad 
genus causae formalis extrinsecae, quae 
non consistit in alio, quam quod aliqua 
potentia, ut eliciat actum talis vel talis 
speciei, indigeat actuari seu ordinari ad 
obiectum extrinsecum, non solum in ter- 
minatione actus, sed etiam in elicientia et 
principio illius, quia etiam ut eliciat, poten- 
tia non est sufficienter determinata ad 
speciem actus, sed determinatur seu move- 
tur et completur ab obiecto. 

Ex QUO SEQUITUR, quod licet aliquan- 
do in obiecto motivo, ut de facto move- 
at, intervenire debeat alicuius rei produc- 
tio, quae ad genus causae efficientis per- 
tinet, non tamen in hoc per se consistit 
formalis ratio obiecti moventis, sed per 
accidens aut concomitanter se habet. 
Quod maxime contingit in potentiis cog- 
noscitivis, quae non possunt moveri ab 
obiectis, nisi imprimantur in eis et pro- 
ducantur effective species; sed tamen 
productio effectiva specierum non est 
causalitas obiectiva in ratione formali 
obiecti motivi. Nam producere effective 
species non pertinet ad rationem obiec- 
ti, ut patet in nostro intellectu et in 
angelico. Nam in nobis intellectus agens 
est, qui effective producit species, non 
obiectum, et in angelis Deus infundit 
species, quod est effective eos producere; 
obiecta vero non agunt effective in in- 
tellectum angeli secundum sententiam S. 
Thomae. Et in omnium sententia constat 
Deum in scientia infusa producere seu in- 
fundere species effective, non ab obiec- 
tis ipsis produci. Salvatur ergo ratio effi- 
ciendi species sine ratione obiecti speci- 
ficantis et e contra, ac proinde formalis 
ratio obiecti motivi specificantis non con- 
sistit in efficientia specierum. 

Sequitur secundo obiectum mo- 
tivum tantum non esse formaliter idem 
quod signum instrumentale, neque obiec- 
tum terminativum tantum idem quod 
obiectum secundarium, licet saepe ista 
materialiter coincidant. 

Primum constat, quia ratio obiecti motivi 
tantum, licet moveat ad aliud praeter se, 


[673b3-674a9] 173 

relative to another beyond itself, nevertheless does not 
directly respect a thing signified which it would represent 
and of which it would be vicegerent, but directly respects 
a power as something it is to stimulate or move. Whence 
it stands in the line of an object coordinated with a power, 
not in the line of a representation vicegerent for [taking 
the place of] another and coordinated with the represented 
thing. The rationale of a stimulus object and the rationale 
of an instrumental sign are therefore diverse formalities, 
because they directly respect diverse terms: an object as 
[an instrumental] sign bespeaks the rationale of a means 
leading to another; an object as stimulus object bespeaks 
the rationale of a principle moving a power. Whence [the 
notion of] a stimulus object does not bespeak something 
subsidiary to and more imperfect than that relative to 
which it moves, as, for example, when someone is moved 
by a mind-independent being to cognizing a mind-depen- 
dent being, or when someone is moved by God to a know- 
ledge of creatures, or when through the essence of a pure 
spirit one comes to know its accidents. But a sign as a sign 
is always something more imperfect than the thing signi- 
fied, as being its vicegerent and substituting in its place 
in the order of the knowable. Thence it is that the rationale 
of a sign is a categorial relation, as we have said above, 
but the rationale of a stimulus object is not a categorial rela- 
tion, because an object does not respect a power, but is 
respected by it, as being according to the relation of mea- 
sure and measured, which is not reciprocal. 

The reason why a terminative object cannot be iden- 
tified with a secondary object is clear from an example. 
Take a case where I know a prototype through an image, 
or an ox by means of a footprint. In these cases, the pro- 
totype and the ox are terminative objects only, as being 
known from the outward appearances of some other ob- 
ject, and yet they are not secondary objects, but principal 
ones, as being primarily and essentially intended, whereas 
the image and the footprint are known as leading to those 
principal objects. 

A final conclusion: A terminative object also has, in 
respect both of a cognitive and of an appetitive power, 
the rationale of an extrinsic formal cause. 

This conclusion is against some more recent authors 7 
who think that a terminative object has the rationale of a 
pure terminus, just as does a terminus in respect of a 
categorial relation. 

But the stated conclusion is taken from the Summa theo- 
logica, MI, q. 18, art. 2, reply to obj. 2, where ST. THOMAS 
SAYS that "an object is not a matter out of which, but con- 
cerning which, and it has in a certain way the rationale of 

tamen non directe respicit signatum, quod 
repraesentet et cuius vices gerat, sed di- 
recte respicit potentiam ut a se moven- 
dam. Unde habet se in linea obiecti coor- 

5 dinati potentiae, non in linea repraesen- 
tationis vices gerentis pro alio et coor- 
dinatae rei repraesentatae. Sunt ergo for- 
malitates diversae, quia in recto diversos 
terminos respiciunt, ut signum dicit ratio- 

w nem medii ductivi ad aliud, ut obiectum 
motivum rationem principii moventis po- 
tentiam. Unde obiectum motivum non 
dicit, quod sit aliquid inferius et imperfec- 
tius eo, ad quod movet, ut cum per ens 

is reale movetur quis ad cognoscendum ens 
rationis, et per Deum movetur ad cognos- 
cendum creaturas, et per essentiam angeli 
ad cognoscendum eius accidentia. Sig- 
num autem ut signum semper est quid 

20 imperfectius re signata, utpote vices eius 
gerens et loco eius substituens in genere 
cognoscibili. Et inde est, quod genus signi 
est relatio praedicamentalis, ut supra dixi- 
mus, ratio vero obiecti motivi non est rela- 

25 tio praedicamentalis, cum obiectum non 
respiciat potentiam, sed ab ea respiciatur, 
utpote secundum relationem mensurae et 
mensurati, quae non est mutua. 

Secundum vero constat, cum per im- 

30 aginem cognosce prototypum aut per ves- 
tigium bovem. Sunt enim obiecta termin- 
ativa tantum prototypus et bos, utpote per 
alterius obiecti species cognita, et tamen 
non sunt obiecta secundaria, sed princi- 

35 palia, utpote primo et per se intenta, im- 
ago autem et vestigium ut deducentia ad 

ULTIMA CONCLUSIO: Obiectum ter- 
minativum respectu potentiae cognosci- 

40 tivae et appetitivae etiam habet rationem 
causae formalis extrinsecae. 

Est contra aliquos recentiores, 7 qui ex- 
istimant obiectum terminativum habere 
rationem puri termini, sicut terminus 

45 respectu relationis praedicamentalis. 

THOMA 1. 2. q. 18. art. 2. ad 2., ubi dicit, 
quod obiectum non est materia ex qua, 
sed circa quam, et habet quodammodo 

7 Principally, again, Francis Suarez: see the Disputationes MetaphySicae, disp. 12, sect. 3, par. 17. 

174 [674a9-b4] 


a form, inasmuch as it specifies." St. Thomas is clear- 
ly speaking here of a terminative object: For a matter 
concerning which is not a principle of an act moving 
a power to elicit an act, but a principle terminating an 
act, because the act is engaged with that matter. There- 5 
fore a terminative object specifies extrinsically; for a 
movement takes its specific character from the termin- 
us, as is said in the fifth book of the Physics. 8 The con- 
clusion is also taken from the Commentary on the Sen- 
tences of Peter Lombard, I, dist. 1, q. 2, art. 1, reply to w 
obj. 2, 9 where St. Thomas says that "the object of an 
operation terminates and perfects that operation and 
is its end." But anything perfecting functions formal- 
ly in respect of something perfectible, at least extrin- 
sically, and when it is not something perfecting by ef- is 
fecting, but by terminating, we say that it functions 
formally extrinsically. 

Finally, THE CONCLUSION is PROVED by the fact that 
a terminative object does not exist as a pure terminus, 
as does a terminus in respect of a categorial relation; 
for a terminative object specifies an active power, which 
power is not a categorial relation, but respects the ob- 
ject by a transcendental order. Therefore the object is 
not a pure terminus, otherwise it would terminate only 
a categorial relation, not a transcendental one. That 25 
indeed a terminative object does not terminate and 
specify in any other order of cause except that of for- 
mal cause follows from this: it is not an efficient cause, 
because it is not a principle but a terminus of action; 
nor is it a material cause, because it is not a subject so 
receiving or a disposing cause; nor is it an end, because 
an end is either an end-effect or an end-cause (that is 
to say, an end-for-the-sake-of- which). 10 An end-effect 


rationem formae, in quantum dat speciem. 
Ubi clare loquitur S. Doctor de obiecto ter- 
minativo: Nam materia circa quam non est 
principium actus movens potentiam ad eli- 
ciendum actum, sed terminans actum, quia 
circa illam versatur actus. Ergo obiectum ter- 
minativum extrinsece specificat; nam a ter- 
mino sumit motus speciem suam, ut dicitur 
in 5. Phys. 8 Sumitur etiam ex D. Thoma in 
1. dist. 1. q. 2. art. 1. ad 2., 9 ubi inquit, 
quod obiectum operationis terminat et per- 
ficit ipsam et est finis eius. Ornne autem per- 
ficiens habet se formaliter respectu perfec- 
tibilis, saltern extrinsece, et cum non sit per- 
ficiens efficiendo, sed terminando, dicimus, 
quod se habet formaliter extrinsece. 

DEINDE PROBATUR, quia obiectum termin- 
ativum non se habet ut purus terminus sicut 
respectu relationis praedicamentalis; obiec- 
tum enim terminativum specificat potentiam 
activam, quae non est relatio praedicamenta- 
lis, sed transcendental! ordine respicit obiec- 
tum. Ergo obiectum non est purus terminus, 
alias solum terminaret relationem praedica- 
mentalem, non transcendentalem. Quod vero 
non in alio genere causae terminet et specifi- 
cet, nisi in genere causae formalis, ex eo de- 
ducitur, quia non se habet ut causa efficiens, 
cum non sit principium actionis, sed terminus; 
nee causa materialis, cum non sit subiectum 
recipiens aut causa disponens; nee finis, quia 
finis vel est finis effectus vel finis causa seu 
id, cuius gratia. 10 Finis effectus ut effectus 

8 c. 5. (229 a 25); S. Thorn, lect. 8. (Le II. 257. n. 6-9. incl.). 

9 Pa VI. 13 b. 

10 Poinsot, 1633: Phil. nat. 1. p. q. 13. art. 1., Reiser ed., II. 271M3-44: "solum iste est finis 
causa et condistinguitur a reliquis causis""on\y the end-for-the-sake-of-which is an end in the 
sense of a cause and is contradistinguished from the other types of cause." Here and in the 
remarks following Poinsot raises the subject of "final causality" not directly in its original con- 
text of those natural phenomena which are seen to come about "regularly and for the most part" 
and have nothing to do as such with human intentions (Aristotle, Physics, Book II, chap. 8), 
but in the context primarily of human actions which are governed by the choice of ends and 
means (Poinsot, 1633: Phil. nat. 1. p. q. 13.; see esp. art. 3, 287a24-b3, also art. 2, 276b46-277a33), 
yet with an awareness of the prior, fundamental context from which this later, typically 
renaissance context has been derived (Poinsot, 1633: Phil. nat. 1. p. "Summa textus libri secundi 
Physicorum Aristotelis cap. 8," 169a21-b37; also q. 13, art. 1, 274bl7-275a25, 275MO-45, where he 
distinguishes between "apprehensio formalis et ex parte subiecti se tenens" and "apprehensio radicalis 
et ex parte obiecti"). To understand this shift or reversal of primary emphasis and context, two 
things must be kept in mind. First, the Aristotelian tradition of natural philosophy as it developed 
in the later Latin age throughout the Renaissance became increasingly focused on what we 
would call in retrospect "the philosophy of man," i.e., the understanding of nature in reference 
principally to human nature, and of the place of the animal rationale in the physical world. Sec- 
ond, the development of this tradition took place, from its beginnings in the twelfth century, 

BOOK ONE, QUESTION FOUR [674b4-10] 175 

as effect does not specify, because as effect it does not non specificat, quia ut effectus non perficit 

perfect an act or an active power, but is perfected or actum vel potentiam activam, sed perficitur 

brought about by an active power, nor as effect does seu fit ab ea, nee causat ipsam ut effectus, 

it cause the active power, but is caused by it. But an sed ab ea causatur. Finis autem ut causa 

end as cause does not specify an act terminatively, but 5 non specificat actum terminative, sed mo- 

in a theological context completing for these authors even properly philosophical reflection, as 
we will have occasion to note in the "Editorial Afterword" following the Treatise proper, Sec- 
tion III. A., esp. nn. 80-83. On both counts, the most crucial single factor making for difficulty 
in reading the Ars Logica (see discussion in the "Afterword," Section I.B.) is equally and in the 
same way at work in the reading of the Philosophia Naturalis as well, namely, the fact that these 
later renaissance Latin writers all tend to assume a whole general view or system thoroughly 
worked out in order to concentrate on and argue about particular points of difficulty within that 
total view. It is the answering of these particular difficulties or "special questions," rather than 
the viewpoint of building up from primitive experience a systematic body of interpretation (which 
was the viewpoint perforce of Aristotle himself) that is the inevitable concern of any grand tradition 
in its later stages the reason at once for its maturity and its decline. So much misunderstand- 
ing and anthropomorphic distortion have developed around the notion of final causality since 
Poinsot's day (for a survey of the question in Poinsot's day, see q. 13 of the Phil. nat. 1. p. re- 
ferred to above, which was anthropocentric without being anthropomorphic, as has been indi- 
cated), that it is important to recall the original context of the discussion in the order of observa- 
tion of events outside the human sphere of volition entirely, as witnessed in Aristotle's contention 
(Physics, Book II, chap. 8, 199a20) that "This," i.e., action 'for the sake of something, "is most 
obvious in the case of animals other than man," and that (199a23-29) "by gradual advance in 
this direction," i.e., away from the sphere of human volitions, "we come to see clearly that in 
plants too that is produced which is conducive to the end" e.g., "it is both by nature and for 
an end that the swallow makes its nest and the spider its web, and plants . . . send their roots 
down (not up) for the sake of nourishment . . . ." (See the useful discussions of final "cause" 
in John Herman Randall, Jr., Aristotle [New York: Columbia University Press, 1960], throughout.) 

This original context is especially important for the student of semiotic, as is suggested by 
the fact that the contemporary founder of the discipline, Charles Sanders Peirce, expressly 
"thought of semiotic as precisely the development of a concept of a final cause process and 
as a study of such processes" (Ransdell, "Some Leading Ideas of Peirce's Semiotic," Semiotica 
19:3/4 [1977], 163). Brought up on the modern prejudices and misconceptions of the Latin tradi- 
tion of natural philosophy, Ransdell remarks, Peirce's would-be commentators seem to have 
found this fact "an embarrassment, a sort of intellectual club foot that one shouldn't be caught 
looking at, much less blatantly pointing out to others," which would explain "why the topic 
of final causation is so strangely absent in criticisms and explanations of Peirce's conception 
of semiotic and semiosis," despite its centrality in Peirce's own reflections and explanations. 
The situation is ludicrous, but no more so than the general situation of contemporary historio- 
graphy vis-a-vis the late Latin age (cf. "Editorial Afterword," Section I. A., and note 129), of 
which this embarrassed silence of the Peirceians is most likely but a particular manifestation. 
What we have here in fact is another example, a particularly compelling instance, indeed, of 
the ways in which semiotic is bound to force a revision of our approaches to the history of 
philosophy and culture. For it seems that the point of view of the basic analysis of final causality 
in the tradition Poinsot represented at its culminating stage (see in particular the reconstitution 
essayed by Benedict Ashley, "Research into the Intrinsic Final Causes of Physical Things," 
ACPA Proceedings, XXVI [1952], 185-194) is very much the point of view adopted spontaneously 
by Peirce himself (citing from Ransdell 1977: 163): "First of all, Peirce is talking about the overall 
form of a process, not about the relation of a process to something external to it ["cum finis quan- 
doque realiter non existat" "since the end often enough does not in fact exist" (Poinsot, 1633: 
281al9)]. He is talking about the tendency toward an end-state, and the general features of such 
a tendency in whatever medium the process may be realized." Thus "the final causational form 
of a process can be realized only through efficient causation, and in that sense presupposes the 
possibility of a physical explanation as well" (Poinsot, 1633: 282bl7-19: "causalitas finis non 
est ipsa causalitas efficientis formaliter, sed identice"; Thomas Aquinas, c. 1265-1266, q. 5 de 
Potentia art. 1 [Pa VIII. 101 a.]: "finis non est causa, nisi secundum quod movet efficientem 
ad agendum"). It would be useful to have a detailed comparative analysis of Peirce and Poin- 
sot's tradition of philosophia naturalis ("Physics") on this point. 

For a brief and philosophically informed historical sketch of the problem something by no 

176 [674blO-15] TRACTATUS DE SIGNIS 

moves the efficient cause metaphorically," and so does vet efficientem metaphorice, 11 et sic non 
not respect the specification of an action, i.e., its essen- respicit specif icationem actionis seu essen- 
tial content or predicate, but its existence, for it moves tiale praedicatum eius, sed existentiam, ad 
relative to that; and therefore as end it is numbered illam enim movet; ideoque ut finis inter cir- 
among the circumstances; but as object it can specify, 5 cumstantias numeratur; ut obiectum vero 

means easy to come by see Ashley's two articles, "Final Causality" and "Teleology," in The 
New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967), Vol. V, pp. 915-919, and Vol. XIII, 
pp. 979-981, respectively, the first treating primarily of the Greek and Latin periods, the second 
treating of the modern period. Further discussion in notes 11 and 12 following. 

11 "Aristotle, who gave the first analysis of the notion of teleology," a term coined by Chris- 
tian Wolff (1679-1754) from the Greek TeXoq (end, completion, goal) for the doctrine of final 
causality "pointed out that a telos, or goal, is not a cause in the ordinary sense of that term, 
but only in an analogical sense (Gen. et cor. 324b 16). It does not exert any force of agency, but 
exists in the agent as a tendency to a determined action. Thus one may say that reproduction 
is the telos of the reproductive system in an animal not in the sense that the offspring (which 
does not yet exist) exerts any force on these organs, but in the sense that there exists in these 
organs a natural tendency to produce a new animal. 

"Obviously, taken in this sense teleology is something experimentally observable, since it 
is possible to determine whether such a tendency exists in the organism by observing its regular 
behavior and by locating this behavior in a particular organ or system. In fact, it is only by observ- 
ing such effects that it is possible to determine the nature of the agent organs. The question 
here is not to predict what the organism will do, but to explain what it has been observed to 
do by discovering the precise agents of this behavior and the steps by which they acted. As 
Aristotle pointed out (Part, animal. 640a 1-9), teleological explanations proceed backward. One 
begins with the observation of some effect that is observed to recur frequently in nature and 
then asks: What were the prerequisites of this effect? What matter [material cause], what forces 
[efficient cause], what structures [formal cause], and what step-by-step processes were necessary 
to produce this observed effect [final cause]? Hence, for the most part it is precisely the goal 
that is the best-known and most easily observed feature in man's experience of an event" (Ashley, 
1967b: 979-980). Hence, elsewhere (1952: 9 note 20), Ashley calls it "another common delusion 
about final causality" to suppose "that teleological explanations are tentative and metaphorical 
in character [in the sense that they] are rendered useless once the exact knowledge of the 'mechan- 
ism' has been attained. This fails to see that for a mechanism to be determinate it must be deter- 
mined by the end and direction of change." "It is this directiveness of natural processes and 
of the things that produce them, which is not by chance or by strict necessity but to or for a 
goal, that is final causality in its primary sense" (Ashley, 1967a: 917), so that "philosophy comes 
to a knowledge of the final causality of particular things by an observation of natural processes, 
since these for the most part (but not invariably) achieve their goal" (ibid., p. 916). Again (1967b: 
981): "Purpose and direction imply a means-end relationship in a structure or a process, but 
they do not necessarily imply consciousness." Thus (ibid.) "teleological explanations" properly 
made and understood "do not rest on any assumption about the nature of the cosmos or its 
dependency on God, but only upon the observed difference between random and organized 
natural structures and processes. Such facts, like all facts, have implications for metaphysics" 
such as were the principal concern of the later Latin scholastics (note 10 above) "but these 
need not concern natural science" in the contemporary sense. 

Ashley imagines the following brief dialogue on this point between a resurrected Aristotle 
and a modern scientist (1952: 5-6). "If Aristotle were to appear on the scene of research and 
were to find scientists engaged in the type of study just described, he would certainly declare 
without equivocation that they are looking for precisely what he meant by the intrinsic final causes 
of physical things. Perhaps the scientist would respond, 'But you are reading something into 
what we are doing!' To which he might reply, 'But I meant nothing else than this, namely, that 
things which change naturally (that is, in a manner due to their intrinsic constitution recognizable 
by us in the regularity of these changes) have their changes determined and made definable by 
the positive result of change.' 

"Again we might imagine the modern as objecting, 'We admit that we look for these re- 
sults, and that we define changes and the things that change by these observed results, but 
we would never call such products of change its "cause," they are rather effects.' To this Aristo- 
tle certainly would reply, 'Let us make no difficulty about words. By "cause" you are in the 
habit of meaning only the agent of change. Now of course an agent is a cause only in so far 

BOOK ONE, QUESTION FOUR [674bl6-25] 177 

as is established in the Summa theologica, I-II, q. 1, art. specificare potest, ut constat 1. 2. q. 1. art. 
4, where the specification of a moral act is taken from 4., ubi specif icatio actus moralis sumitur a 
the end, as the end is a good and an object of will. fine, ut est bonum et obiectum voluntatis. 
And in q. 18, art. 6, and again in q. 19, art. 2, the end Et in q. 18. art. 6. et q. 19. art. 2. finis dicitur 
is said to specify insofar as it is the object of the in- 5 specificare in quantum obiectum actus in- 
terior or imperating act; but it is a circumstance of the terioris seu imperantis; est autem cir- 
imperated act, which act is for the sake of the end. 12 cumstantia actus imperati, qui est gratia 
If therefore an end as end specifies, it takes on the ra- finis. 12 Si ergo ut finis specif icet, induit ra- 

as the change depends upon its activity, and since this change must have a direction (as you 
constantly observe in your researches on regular changes) the agent must itself be determined 
to produce the very direction of that change, or it could not be an agent at all. But the direction 
of a change is determined by its terminus ad quern [cf. Poinsot, 1633: 276b46-277a4: "Agens non 
operatur nisi ut determinatum ad aliquid, quod operetur, alias a casu et per accidens operabitur. Deter- 
minatur autem a fine, qui est terminus, in quern tendit agens.""An agent does not act save as deter- 
mined toward something to be accomplished; otherwise, it will act by chance and incidentally. 
But it is determined by an outcome, which is the terminus toward which the agent tends."]; 
hence on the terminus ad quern depends the change and even the causality of the agent itself. 
So if you wish to call the agent a cause, all the more you should be willing to admit that the 
terminus ad quern is a cause (although in a very different way), for the very causality of the agent 
depends upon it.' The scientist would no doubt still object, 'But how can the result be a cause 
since it does not even exist when the agent begins to act?' And to this Aristotle would conclude 
by saying, 'Of course it does not exist as the completed result, but it does exist as a determined 
tendency in the agent directing its action, and as the very direction of the change itself as it 
proceeds.' " (Further to this last remark in Ashley, 1967a: 917, bottom right.) Thus the scholastics 
called the final cause the "cause of causes," in that "a knowledge of the resultants of change 
is a key to answering all the major types of physical questions." 

Finally, as to the consequences of a rejection or confused notion of final causality, Ashley 
makes the following observation (1952: 12): "Certainly few modern scientists would accept either 
panpsychism or the doctrine of pure chance, since there is no evidence of consciousness in many 
of the things they study, and there is wide-spread evidence of innate regularity in these same 
things, but scientists do waver between the two conceptions. This wavering is the result of a 
failure to find the correct concept of final causality which precisely mediates between these two 
extremes and saves a moderate determinism in nature, a determinism which far from excluding 
either chance or free will, includes them as special cases." 

On the metaphorical aspect of final causality, see Poinsot, 1633: Phil. nat. 1. p. q. 13. art. 
2., "Quae sit causalitas finis" ("What constitutes the causality of an end?"), esp. 277a34-278a27, 
which states the problem and surveys alternative solutions that have been proposed. Poinsot' s 
own position is effectively summarized in the formula (282b2-5; cf. 276al4-18): " causalitas finis 
est metaphorice actio, . . . sed non metaphorice est causalitas" ("the causality of the end is an action 
in a metaphorical sense, . . . but it is not metaphorically a mode of causality"), because a true 
ontological dependency is involved. Further discussion in note 12 following. 

12 Phil. nat. 1. p. q. 13. art. 2., Reiser ed. II. 279a27b37: "Et quidem ille actus seu amor, ut est 
actus seu operatio causae, respicit ipsam ut efficientia seu actio. Ut vero pendet ab obiecto, adhuc fundat 
duplicem habitudinem: Aliam specificationis, quae proprie respicit ipsum ut obiectum per modum specifica- 
tivi et pertinet ad genus causae formalis extrinsecae. Alia est habitudo finalizationis, quatenus actus ille, 
etiam postquam est specificatus, respicit alterum, cuius intuitu et gratia fiat, vel si intuitu suifit, in se habet 
rationem finis distinctam a ratione obiecti. Itaque dependentia actus ab obiecto est communis lam obiecto, 
qui est finis, quam qui non est finis, et solum consistit in dependentia ab ipso ut determinante speciem actus. 
At vero finis non constituit speciem, sed movet agens ad exercitium actionis, et quia non potest exercere 
actionem nisi per aliquam inclinationem, quae generaliter dicitur appetitus, neque inclinatio potest tendere 
nisi ad aliquid certum, prius necesse est, quod reddatur inclinatio proportionata respectu illius termini, in 
quern tendit. Et ilia proportio seu immutatio reddit inclinationem quasi coniunctam ipsi appetibili. [Ibid., 
q. 10. art. 3., 206a33-39: "Appetibile autem respectu appetitus habet rationem perfecti, et appetitus ra- 
tionem perfectibilis, quia appetitus fundatur in potentialitate, qua tenditur ad perfectibile" it seems the 
text should read here either appetibile or perfectum"ut ad terminum, in quo appetitus terminatur et 
perficitur."] Et sic inclinatio ponderosa facta tendit in finem, et quanta plus facit aliquod bonum ponderare 
in plures actiones, tanto universalior et perfectior finis est, et si facit ponderare in omnes, tune est ultimus 
finis et dicitur appeti et diligi toto corde, imo et amari caritate, quia caritas addit super amorem communiter 

178 [674b25-36] TRACTATUS DE SIGNIS 

tionale of an object, for the rationale of a specifying tionem obiecti, alia est ratio obiecti 

object is one thing, that of a moving end quite another. specificantis, alia finis moventis. Et sic 

And thus specification pertains to the order of an ex- specificatio pertinet ad genus causae for- 

trinsic formal cause, the "motion" of an end pertains malis extrinsecae, motio finis ad finaliza- 
to finalization moving to produce a thing in being: but 5 tionem moventem ad producendum res in 

to move relative to the act of being and existence is esse, movere autem ad esse et existentiam 

outside the order of specification. est extra specif icationem. 

From these remarks you can distinguish the other Ex his distingues alias divisiones 

divisions of object, as into primary and secondary, obiecti, ut in primarium et secundarium, 

dictum aestimationem rei voltitae quasi magni et cari pretii, ut dicit S. Thomas I. 2. q. 26. art. 3. Quare 
haec immutatio seu pondus appetibilis in voluntate in re per actum amoris fit. Sed quatenus est elicita perfecte 
a voluntate, dicitur actio voluntatis et effectus finis, quatenus vero est ab appetibili et subordinatur ei ad 
amandum, est causalitas finis; finis enim est ipsum appetibile, et ab eo causalitas finalis esse debet. Et secun- 
dum hanc rationem est ab obiecto proposito et praecedit rationem eius ut est a voluntate elicitive. . . ." 
"And indeed that act or love, as it is an act or operation of a cause, respects that cause as an 
efficiency or action. But as it depends upon an object, it yet founds a twofold relative condition: 
One of specification, which properly regards the object as object in the mode of a specificative 
and pertains to the class of an extrinsic formal cause. The other is a relative condition of finaliza- 
tion, inasmuch as that act, even after it is specified, regards something other in consideration 
of and on account of which it came to be, or, if it comes to be in view of itself, it has in itself 
the rationale of an end distinct from the rationale of object. Therefore the dependency of an 
act upon an object is common equally to an object which is an end and to one which is not 
an end, and consists solely in the dependency upon it as determining the type or species of 
the act. An end, by contrast, does not constitute the type, but moves the agent toward the exer- 
cise of an action, and because it cannot exercise an action save through some inclination, which 
is generally called an 'appetite,' nor can an inclination tend save toward something definite, 
it is first necessary that the inclination be rendered proportionate in respect of that terminus 
into which it tends. And that proportion or proportioning renders the inclination as if united 
to the appetible object. [Ibid., q. 10. art. 3., 206a33-39: "The appetible in respect of appetite 
has the rationale of something perfect, while the appetite has the rationale of something perfec- 
tible, because appetite is rooted in a potentiality, whereby it is inclined toward the appetible "- 
reading appetibile (perfectum) for Reiser's perfectibile "as toward the terminus in which the ap- 
petite is terminated and perfected."] And thus an inclination made influential tends toward 
an end, and by as much as it the more makes something good to weigh or influence in several 
actions, so much the more universal and perfect is the end, and if it effects an influence on all 
actions, then it is the final end and is said to be sought and loved with the whole heart, indeed 
even to be loved by charity, because charity adds, over and above love commonly so called, 
the estimation of a thing consciously willed as being of great and precious value, as St. Thomas 
says in the Summa theologica, I-II, q. 26, art. 3. Wherefore this proportioning or influence of the 
object of appetite on the will in fact comes about through an act of love. But insofar as it is fully 
elicited from the will, it is said to be an action of the will and an effect of the end [an end-effect], 
while insofar as it is from the appetible [desirable] and subordinated thereto as to something 
to be loved, we have the causality of the end; for the end is the desirable object itself, and from 
it must be the final causality. And according to this rationale the causality is from the proposed 
object and antecedes its rationale as something from the will elicitively. ..." 

Phil. nat. 1. p. q. 13. art. 2., 280a29-36: "Et ita causalitas eius non debet quaeri in ipsomet fine 
neque in aliquo motu ab eo egrediente, sed in ipso effectu eius, scilicet hi ipso amore, qui est effectus et 
causalitas finis secundum diversas habitudines et consider ationes. . . ."- -"And thus the causality of 
the end must not be sought in the end itself nor in any movement issuing from it, but in its 
very effect, that is to say in the love itself, which is the effect and the causality of the end accor- 
ding to different relationships and considerations. ..." 

Ibid., 283al3-18: "Unde ista attractio et causalitas identice et realiterest ipseactus amoris, formaliter 
est ordo seu dependentia ipsius ab obiecto appetibili proposito ut ponderante in voluntate." "Whence 
this attraction and causality identically and physically is the act itself of love, formally it is the 
order or dependency of the acting upon the proposed desirable object as influencing the will." 

All these remarks, as can be seen especially in note 11 above (see also note 10), would ex- 
tend analogically but properly as regards the distinctions of dependencies to the order of devel- 
opment within and among inanimate and noncognitive entities. 

BOOK ONE, QUESTION FOUR [674b36-43] 179 

formal and material. 13 For that object which essential- formale et materiale. 13 Id enim, quod per 

ly or primarily or formally specifies, that is to say, that se vel primo aut formaliter specif icat seu est 

object which is the form and rationale of specifying, forma et ratio specif icandi, dicitur per se 

is called object essentially or the rationale of object; all obiectum seu ratio obiecti; reliquum vero 

other things are said to be an object secondarily or 5 dicitur secundario seu per aliud et materia- 

through another and materially. And the very rationale liter obiectum. Et ipsa ratio specificandi 

13 In his Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 2. art. 3., Reiser ed. III. 76b37-77b25, Poinsot gives a somewhat 
more detailed explanation of these distinctions, expressly deriving them from the fundamental 
doctrine of the univocity of being and non-being in knowledge that is explained by his account 
of relations and that underlies his doctrine of signs: "... in obiecto aliud est ipsa entitas, quae materialiter 
in eo consideratur, aliud ipsa formalitas obiecti, secundum quam pertinet ad talem potentiam et actum illum- 
que specificat aut distinguit. Quae formalitas nihil aliud est, quam proportio ipsa seu coaptatio cum tali actu 
vel potentia; proportio autem respectus est. Et hinc contingit posse plum obiecta entitative et materialiter 
diversa convenire in una formalitate obiectiva, et e contra posse in una entitate materiali obiecti fundari diversas 
formalitates obiectivas, sicut manifeste patet exemplis. Videmus enim corpora substantialiter diversa, ut lapis, 
lignum, homo, convenire in una ratione colorati et proportione movendi visum, et e contra eandem entitatem, 
v. g. lapidem, fundare formalitatem visibilis ut coloratum, et tangibilis utfrigidum, et inteUigibilis ut substan- 
tiam, et generalibis ut e materia producibilis, et creabilis ut ex nihilo factibilis. Unde bene dixit Caietanus 
1. p. q. 1. art. 3. aliam esse divisionem rei ut res, aliam obiecti ut obiectum. Et scientiae dicuntur secari 
sicut et res, non quidem in esse rei, sed in esse et formalitate obiecti. 

"Ex quo colligitur, quid sit obiectum formale, quid materiale, quid adaequatum. Dicitur enim obiectum 
adaequatum ilia ratio, quae terminat et complectitur, quidquid potest cadere sub attingentia alicuius poten- 
tiae, sive primario sive secundario, tarn quoad rationem formalem, sub qua attingitur, quam quoad materiale, 
quod attingitur. Obiectum formale dicitur ilia formalitas seu respectus, secundum quern fit proportio et 
coaptatio inter obiectum et potentiam. Materiale dicitur illud, quod tali habitudini seu formalitati subster- 
nitur et subiectum eius est. 

"Sunt autem diversi termini, quibus explicantur rationes istae obiectivae, sicut dicitur ratio formalis 
sub qua, ratio formalis quae, obiectum quod. Ratio formalis sub qua sumitur dupliciter: Uno modo, ut 
tenet se ex parte potentiae seu habitus, et sic est ipsa ultima ratio virtutis, qua determinatur et proportionatur 
erga tale obiectum. Alio modo sumitur ex parte ipsius obiecti, et sic est ultima formalitas proportionans et 
coaptans obiectum potentiae vel actui, sicut in obiecto visibili color non est ultimum, quod proportionat obiec- 
tum visui, sed lux, et ideo lux potest did ratio sub qua ex parte potentiae. Ratio quae dicitur solum ex 
parte obiecti, non ex parte potentiae, et est ilia formalitas, quae constituit obiectum attingibile a potentia 
vel actu, etiamsi non sit ultima formalitas, sicut color est ratio, quae attingitur in corpore, et non solum 
lucidum. Non tamen repugnat, quod etiam aliquid, quod est ratio sub qua ex parte obiecti, sit etiam ratio, 
quae attingitur tamquam ultimum, sicut lux attingitur in re visibili. Denique obiectum quod est ipsum 
totum, quod constat ex obiecto materiali et formali; in hoc enim fertur potentia, non tamquam in rationem 
seu formam attingendi, sed tamquam in rem attactam.""ln an object, 'entitative reality (which is con- 
, sidered therein materially) is one thing, the formality itself of object according to which it pertains 

to a given power and specifies or distinguishes that act is something else again, which formality 
is nothing other than the very proportion or adaptation with the given act or power; but a pro- 
portion is a respect. And hence it can happen that many objects entitatively and materially diverse 
can come together or coincide in one objective formality, and conversely diverse objective for- 
malities can be founded on the one material entity of an object, as is manifestly clear from examples. 
For we see substantially diverse bodies, such as stone, wood, a man, coincide in the one rationale 
of 'colored' and in the proportion of stimulating sight, and conversely, one same entity, e.g., a 
stone, founds the formality of 'visible' as colored and of 'tangible' as cold, and of 'intelligible' 
as a substance, and of 'generable' as something that can be produced from matter, and of 'creatable' 
as able to be made from nothing. Whence Cajetan well says in his Commentary on the Summa 
theologica, I. q. 1, art. 3, that the division of a thing as thing is one division, the division of an 
object as object quite another. And sciences are said to be distinguished as things are, not indeed 
in their existence as things, but in the being and formality of an object. 

"Whence can be gathered what is a formal object, what a material object, and what an ade- 
quate object. For that rationale which terminates and comprises whatever can fall under the at- 
tainment of some power, whether primarily or secondarily, as much as regards the formal ra- 
tionale under which it is attained as regards the material which is attained, is called the adequate 
object. That formality or respect according to which a proportion and adaptation between object 
and power comes about is called the formal object. That which is arranged by such a perspective 
(habitude) or formality and is its subject is called the material object. 

180 [674b43-675a37] 


of specifying, understood according to itself, is also 
customarily called the rationale "under which" or the 
object "by which." But considered as in some thing 
by affecting it, the thing so effected is called the "ra- 
tionale which," the material object the "object which." 
A simple example is the case of a wall colored and 
lighted in respect of sight. 


The first argument is against our first conclu- 
sion. Assuredly the divine intelligence and its power 
truly and properly have objects; for they are engaged 
with something primarily and essentially, the in- 
telligence with the divine essence, omnipotence with 
creatures. And yet they are not specified by these 
objects; for the divine power is not specified by crea- 
tures, otherwise it would have actuality and perfec- 
tion from them just as it would have species. Nor 
likewise does the divine essence specify the divine in- 
telligence, for in God extrinsic specificative and 
specified cannot be distinguished, nor can perfecting 
and perfectible, actuating and actuable. Therefore the 
rationale of an object does not consist in specifying 

The response to this is that within the divine in- 
telligence and omnipotence the rationale of object is 
found freed from imperfections, that is to say, from 
dependence on anything as extrinsically specifying and 
formally causing. For there is not in God any specific 
kind or specified thing which is caused, and conse- 
quently neither is there the rationale of an object that 
causes as a formal extrinsic cause. But in the divine 
acts of intellection and will, there is the rationale of 
an object as regards that which is of perfection and ac- 
tuality, in this, that there is a terminus and factor 

secundum se sumpta solet etiam dici ratio 
sub qua seu obiectum quo. Ut autem con- 
sideratur in aliqua re afficiendo ipsam, dici- 
tur res sic effecta ratio quae, obiectum vero 
5 materiale obiectum quod. Exemplum facile 
est in pariete colorato et lucido respectu 


10 Primo arguitur contra primam conclu- 
sionem. Nam intellectus divinus et eius 
potentia vere et proprie habent obiecta; ver- 
santur enim circa aliquid primo et per se, 
intellectus circa divinam essentiam, om- 

15 nipotentia vero circa creaturas. Et tamen 
non specificantur ab ipsis obiectis; nam 
divina potentia non specificatur a creaturis, 
alioquin ab illis haberet actualitatem et 
perfectionem sicut et speciem. Similiter ne- 

20 que essentia divina specificat intellectum 
divinum; nee enim ibi potest distingui 
specificativum et specificatum extrinsecum, 
sicut nee perficiens et perfectibile, actuans 
et actuabile. Ergo non consistit in hoc, quod 

25 est specificare extrinsece, ratio obiecti. 

RESPONDETUR in divinis inveniri ra- 
tionem obiecti seclusis imperfectionibus, id 
est dependentia ab aliquo ut ab extrinseco 
specif icante et formaliter causante. Nee 

30 enim datur ibi aliqua species seu specifica- 
tum, quod sit causatum, et consequenter 
neque datur ratio obiecti, quod sit causa 
formalis extrinseca ut causa. Sed in his ac- 
tibus, quae sunt intelligere et velle, datur 

35 ratio obiecti quantum ad id, quod perfec- 

"There are, however, different terms by which these objective rationales are explained, such 
as the 'formal rationale under which,' the 'formal rationale which/ the 'object which.' The for- 
mal rationale under which is understood in two senses. In one way it is understood as obtaining 
on the side of the power or habit, and so is the final rationale whereby the ower is determined 
and proportioned respecting a given object. In another way it is understood on the side of the 
object itself, and so is the final formality proportioning and adapting the object to the power 
or to the act, as, for example, color is not the ultimate thing in a visible object that proportions 
the object to sight, but light is, and therefore light can be called the 'rationale under which' 
on the side of the object. The rationale which is expressed only on the side of the object, not 
on the side of the power, and is that formality which constitutes the object as attainable by a 
power or act, even if it is not the final formality, as for example color is the rationale which 
it attained in a body, and not only illumination. Yet nothing prevents even something that is 
a rationale under which on the side of the object from being also a rationale which is attained 
or what is ultimate or final, as light is attained in a visible thing. Finally, the object which is that 
totality which comprises the material and formal object; for a power is borne on this not as on 
the rationale or form of the attaining, but as in the thing attained." 

A slightly less detailed exposition of this same material is given in Poinsot's Logica 2. p. 
q. 1. art. 3., Reiser ed. I. 266a34-b2. See further discussion in note 33 below. 


[675a37-b47] 181 

specificative of the knowledge, since cognition and voli- 
tion must attain something, though even so the speci- 
ficative is not distinguished from the specified, nor 
does the specificative have in relation to the specified 
the rationale of a cause, but specificative and specified 
are one and the same owing to their consummate emin- 
ence, as is had from St. Thomas, Summa theologica, 
I, q. 14, arts. 2 and 4. Though indeed in respect of 
the power executive relative to creatures, that is, in 
respect of omnipotence, there is the rationale of an ob- 
ject insofar as creatures are that with which that ex- 
ecutive power of God is engaged as its pure effect, not 
as perfective of the power, which has every perfection 
from itself. 

A second argument is against the rationale of 
a stimulus object, which we have explained. For by 
speaking of a stimulus object formally as it is stimulative, 
the qualification "stimulus" expresses the rationale 
either of a productive motion or of a formal one. If the 
first, it is not an object properly and simply, as we have 
shown above, because a productive movement does not 
give specification, but existence. If the second, the ra- 
tionale of the stimulus object is not distinguished from 
the rationale of a terminative object, because each has 
the same mode of causality, namely, the formal mode, 
and so a stimulus object and a terminative object will 
specify in the same way. For the fact that a stimulus 
object has the rationale of a principle does not change 
in it the rationale of an extrinsic formal cause, and 
therefore a stimulus object does not possess the rationale 
of an object insofar as it is a stimulus, but insofar as 
it coincides with a terminative object in the rationale 
of specifying extrinsically, not insofar as it has the ra- 
tionale of a productively moving principle. 

This is confirmed by the fact that if a stimulus 
object insofar as it is a stimulus expresses the proper 
rationale of an object, then there is no general rationale 
of object common to both the stimulus and the ter- 
minative, in which they coincide. For there cannot be 
any rationale common to both a stimulus and a ter- 
minative object except that of respecting a power as 
something external to it. But this rationale belongs even 
to the mere act of a power, which is something distinct 
from the power and respects it by specifying, yet 
without being the power's object. Therefore the ra- 
tionale of an object as such does not consist in respec- 
ting a power as something extrinsic specifying. 

The response to this argument 14 is that in the ex- 
pression "stimulus object" the qualification "stimulus" 

tionis et actualitatis est, in hoc, quod datur 
terminus et specificativum cognitionis, eo 
quod cognitio et volitio aliquid debet at- 
tingere, sed tamen specificativum non dis- 

5 tinguitur a specificate nee habet in illud ra- 
tionem causae, sed sunt unum et idem pro- 
pter summam eminentiam, ut ex D. Thoma 
habetur 1. p. q. 14. art. 2. et 4. Respectu 
vero potentiae executivae ad extra seu om- 

w nipotentiae datur ratio obiecti, in quantum 
creaturae sunt id, circa quod versatur 
potentia ilia executiva Dei, ut purus effec- 
tus eius, non ut perfectivum potentiae, 
quae a se habet omnem perfectionem. 

25 Secundo arguitur contra rationem obiecti 
motivi, quam explicavimus. Nam loquendo 
de obiecto motive formaliter ut motivum est, 
vel ly motivum dicit rationem motionis ef- 
fectivae vel formalis. Si primum, non est pro- 

20 prie et simpliciter obiectum, ut supra osten- 
dimus, quia efficiens motio non dat specifi- 
cationem, sed existentiam. Si secundum, non 
distinguitur ratio motivi a terminativo, quia 
utrumque habet eundem modum causaUta- 

25 tis, scilicet formalis, et sic eodem modo 
specificabit obiectum motivum et terminati- 
vum. Quod enim motivum habeat rationem 
prinripii, non variat rationem causae formal- 
is extrinsecae, atque adeo rationem obiecti 

30 non habet motivum in quantum motivum, 

sed in quantum convenit cum terminativo 

in ratione specificandi extrinsece, non in 

quantum rationem habet principii moventis. 

Conf irmatur, quia si obiectum motiv- 

35 um in quantum motivum dicit propriam ra- 
tionem obiecti, sequitur non dari aliquam 
rationem obiecti in communi, in quo con- 
veniant terminativum et motivum. Nee 
enim motive et terminativo potest dari alia 

40 ratio communis, nisi respicere potentiam 
tamquam aliquid extra illam. Hoc autem 
etiam convenit ipsi actui, qui est distinctum 
quid a potentia et respicit ipsam speci- 
ficando, et tamen non est obiectum eius. 

45 Ergo ratio obiecti ut sic non consistit in hoc, 
quod est respicere potentiam ut aliquid ex- 
trinsecum specif icans. 

RESPONDETUR, 14 quod in obiecto motive 
ly motivum intelligitur de motione formali 

14 180/10-24. 

182 [675b47-676b2] 


is understood of a formal moving in the mode of a prin- 
ciple [of initiation] in respect of a passive power, as was 
said above, so that the specification of an act, and not 
only the exercise or existence of that act, depends on 
such an object, not on the side of termination, but on 
the side of eliciting and principle. 

And when it is insisted that in this a stimulus object 
coincides with a terminative object, the response is that 
stimulative and terminative come together in the order 
of causing specification, but not in the mode nor in the 
kind of act caused, just as diverse habits and acts are 
likewise specified in the same general mode of specifica- 
tion, but not by the same specific mode, since they are 
diverse in kind. But a diversity in modes of specifying 
and a diversity of specifications is derived, as was said, 
from this, that an object can function in the mode of 
a principle or of a terminus, that is to say, an object can 
be that on which the specification of an act depends 
either in its being elicited or in its termination, because, 
as St. Thomas often says, in the Summa theologica, I-II, 
qq. 1 and 18, and elsewhere, the rationale of an act is 
taken both from its principle or commencement and 
from its end or termination. And the object function- 
ing in the mode of a principle induces a mode of speci- 
fying which is other than that of an object functioning 
in the mode of a terminus, because an object specifies 
an active or a passive power, which powers are always 
diverse powers and have diverse acts. 

To the confirmation 15 the response is that just as [the 
concept of] power in general abstracts from active and 
passive and joins the two in the rationale of a principle 
or root of an act, so also "object in general" abstracts 
from stimulus and terminative and expresses the extrin- 
sic specificative of a power on the side of principle or 
of terminus. An act, however, either is not entirely ex- 
trinsic to a power, since it proceeds therefrom, or rather 
should it be said that in an act in respect of a power 
two things are considered: there is the rationale of 
something produced, that is, of an effect, and considered 
thus as produced the act does not respect the power by 
specifying it, but by receiving from it existence and 
specific character and nature; or the rationale of 
something perfecting the power in acting is considered, 
inasmuch as an act ultimately consummates the action 
of a power, and so considered the act does not specify 
except insofar as it stands on the side of a terminus in 
which the actuality of the power is consummated, and 
for this reason it takes on the rationale of a terminating 
object, just as do other effects in respect of the agents 








per modum principii respectu potentiae 
passivae, ut supra dictum est, ita quod 
specificatio actus, et non solum exercitium 
seu esse illius pendent a tali obiecto, non 
ex parte terminationis, sed ex parte eli- 
cientiae et principii. 

Et quando instatur, quod in hoc convenit 
cum terminativo, respondetur corwenire in 
genere causandi specificationem, sed non 
in modo neque in specie actus causata, 
sicut etiam diversi habitus et actus speci- 
ficantur eodem modo specificationis in 
genere, sed non eodem modo specificatio- 
nis, cum diversae speciei sint. Diversus 
autem modus specificandi et diversa spe- 
cificatio sumitur, ut dictum est, ex eo, 
quod obiectum se habeat per modum 
principii vel termini, id est a quo de- 
pendeat specificatio actus vel in sui eli- 
cientia vel in sui terminatione, quia, ut 
saepe dicit S. Thomas, 1. 2. q. 1. et q. 18. 
et alibi, a principio et fine sumitur ratio 
actus. Et habere se per modum principii 
inducit diversum modum specificandi ab 
eo, quod est per modum termini, quia 
specificat potentiam activam vel passi- 
vam, quae semper sunt diversae poten- 
tiae et diver sos actus habent. 

Ad confirmationem 15 responde- 
tur, quod sicut potentia in communi ab- 
strahit a potentia activa et passiva et con- 
venit in ratione principii actus, ita obiec- 
tum in communi abstrahit a motivo et ter- 
minativo et dicit extrinsecum specificati- 
vum potentiae ex parte principii vel ter- 
mini. Actus autem vel non est omnino ex- 
trinsecus potentiae, cum procedat ab il- 
ia, vel potius dicendum est, quod in actu 
respectu potentiae considerantur duo, sci- 
licet et ratio producti seu effectus, et sic 
non respicit potentiam specificando, sed 
ab ipsa recipiendo esse et speciem et na- 
turam. Vel consideratur ratio perficientis 
potentiam in agendo, quatenus ultimo 
consummat actionem, et sic non specifi- 
cat, nisi in quantum tenet se ex parte ter- 
mini, in quo consummatur actualitas po- 
tentiae, et hac ratione induit rationem 
obiecti terminantis, sicut alii effectus 

15 181/35-47. 


[676b2-677a7] 183 

that produce them, insofar as they perfect and con- 
summate those agents in act. 

It is argued thirdly: A given object is a stimulus 
object from the way in which a power respecting that 
object is passive; for an object as stimulus corresponds 
to a passive power as passive. But a cognitive power 
is passive insofar as it receives a specifying form, in 
which reception the object does not influx as object, 
but as effectively producing and impressing. Therefore 
the rationale of stimulus does not pertain to the ob- 
ject as object, but to the rationale of something effec- 
tively producing or impressing specifying forms, since 
indeed a passive power functions as passive insofar 
as it undergoes and receives specific determination 
antecedently to act. But in that prior condition or state 
in which the power receives a specifying form and is 
moved, the object is not yet objectified, because it is 
not then attained [by the power] as object when the 
forms of specification are impressed. 

This is confirmed by the fact that an object as 
stimulative can specify neither an act nor a power, 
therefore it specifies nothing. 

Theantecedent is p r o v e d: A stimulus object 
does not specify an act, because only that which is 
movable by an object can be specified by that object. 
But an act is not movable by an object, because it is 
an effect of the object caused by the power and by the 
object. Therefore an act cannot be specified by a 
stimulus object, because a stimulus as stimulus only 
specifies something movable as movable. Nor can a 
stimulus object specify a power, because an object does 
not specify a power except by means of an act, as St. 
Thomas teaches in the Summa theologica, I, q. 77, art. 
3. Therefore, if the stimulus object does not specify the 
cognitive act, neither does it specify the cognitive 

The response to the main argument 16 is that a 
cognitive power is passive both in respect of the agent 
or thing impressing a specifying form, and in respect 
of the form impressed. But an impressed specifying 
form has two dimensions or aspects, namely: to in- 
form entitatively or physically, and this pertains to a 
specifier materially as what it has in common with all 
other accidents [i.e., determinations of subjectivity]; 
and to inform intentionally, that is, as the form is 
representatively one with the object, and in this way 
the object informs intentionally in the same order as 
the specifier, that is to say, formally, even though the 
object is outside and the specifier is inside the cog- 

respectu suorum agentium, in quantum 
perficiunt et consummant ilia in actu. 

Tertio arguitur: Obiectum eo modo 
est motivum, quo potentia illud respic- 

5 iens est passiva; nam obiectum ut mo- 
tivum correspondet potentiae passivae 
ut passivae. Sed potentia cognoscitiva 
in tantum est passiva, in quantum reci- 
pit species, in qua receptione obiectum 

w non influit ut obiectum, sed ut efficiens 
et imprimens. Ergo ratio motivi non per- 
tinet ad obiectum ut obiectum, sed ad 
rationem efficientis seu imprimentis spe- 
cies, siquidem in tantum se habet po- 

15 tentia passiva ut passiva, in quantum 
antecedenter ad actum patitur et recipit 
species. In illo autem priori, quo poten- 
tia recipit species et movetur, non obi- 
citur obiectum, quia non attingitur tune 

20 ut obiectum, quando imprimuntur spe- 

Confirmatur, quia obiectum ut mo- 
tivum neque potest specificare actum 
neque potentiam, ergo nihil specif icat. 

25 Antecedens probatur: Non specificat ac- 
tum, quia illud solum est specificabile ab 
obiecto, quod est mobile ab ipso. Actus 
autem non est mobilis ab obiecto, cum sit 
effectus eius causatus a potentia et ab 

30 obiecto. Ergo non est specif icabilis ab 
obiecto motive, quia motivum ut moti- 
vum solum specificat mobile ut mobile. 
Neque potentiam specificare potest, quia 
obiectum non "specif icat potentiam, nisi 

35 mediante actu, ut docet D. Thomas 1. p. 
q. 77. art. 3. Ergo si non specificat actum, 
neque potentiam. 

RESPONDETUR, 16 quod potentia est 
passiva et respectu agentis seu impri- 

40 mentis species et respectu forrnae im- 
pressae. Forma autem impressa habet 
duo, scilicet informare entitative seu 
physice, et hoc materialiter se habet in 
specie et commune est cum ceteris acci- 

45 dentibus, et informare intentionaliter, id 
est ut repraesentative est idem cum obi- 
ecto, et sic obiectum informat intention- 
aliter in eo ordine, quo species, scilicet 
formaliter, licet obiectum extra, species 

16 to 181/15-34. 

184 [677a7-20] TRACTATUS DE SIGNIS 

nitive power. 17 But the impression itself productive of intra potentiam. 17 Ipsa vero impressio ef- 

specifying forms is not from the object as causing objec- fectiva specierum non est ab obiecto ut 

tively, but from the thing producing the specifiers, obiective movente, sed a producente 

which productive force does not [even materially] species, quae virtus productiva non semper 

always belong to the very thing which is an object, but 5 convenit ipsi rei, quae est obiectum, sed 

belongs sometimes to another agent, as, for example, alteri agenti, ut in nobis intellectus agens, 

the agency of the understanding in us, or God infus- in angelis Deus infundens species. Quare 

ing specifying forms in the pure spirits. Wherefore, the ratio motivi in obiecto non est ratio im- 

rationale of a stimulus in an object is not the rationale primendi vel efficiendi species, sed obiec- 

of impressing or producing specifiers, but of objective- w tive actuandi et determinandi potentiam 

ly actuating and determining a power by means of a mediante specie ut intentionaliter, non ut 

17 Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 6. art. 3., Reiser ed. III. 185a26-b36: ". . . respondetur speciem informare 
dupliciter potentiam, scilicet entitative seu inhaerendo, intentionaliter autem et vice obiecti perftciendo seu 
potius transformando potentiam in obiectum. 

"Et ratio est, quia species inter omnes alias formas hoc habet speciale, quod non solum informat pro 
se, sed vice alterius, scilicet obiecti, imo propter se non requiritur, sed propter obiectum, a quo perficitur 
potentia sine hoc, quod cum ipso obiecto constituat naturam aliquam. . . . [N]am forma intentionalis en- 
titative considerata dependet in suo esse a subiecto sicut reliquae formae, et actuat subiectum sicut ipsae. 
At vero obiectum repraesentatum in specie non accipit aliquod esse a subiecto nee constituit cum illo ali- 
quam naturam, sed ita praesentatur potentiae, quod determinat et actuat illam intelligibiliter sine hoc, 
quod realiter alteret illam et transmutet aut componat aliquod tertium cum ilia. Item potentia non utitur 
entitate speciei tamquam principio speciftcante actus suos, sed obiecto in ea repraesentato utitur tamquam 
speciftcativo, sed potentia debet actuari a suo speciftcativo, in quantum specificativum est. Ergo si ab en- 
titate speciei non specificatur, bene tamen ab obiecto repraesentato, alia unio seu actuatio aut determinatio 
debet intercedere inter obiectum repraesentatum et potentiam, et haec dicitur unio intelligibilis seu inten- 
tionalis, inter entitatem vero speciei et potentiam est unio accidentalis, id est inhaerentiae. Denique species 
inhaeret potentiae, etiam quando actu non cognoscitur obiectum, sed species conservantur in ilia per modum 
reliquorum accidentium. Cum vero potentia actu cognoscit, tune non solum actuatur entitative ipsa specie, 
sed actuatur ipso obiecto in ea contento et repraesentato; ab hoc enim non semper actuatur potentia, sed 
tune quando actu cognoscit." "A specification informs the cognitive power in a twofold manner, 
namely, entitatively or by inhering, intentionally, however, and in the stead of the object by 
perfecting or rather by transforming the power into the object. 

"And the reason for this is that a specifying form is unique among all other forms in this, 
that it informs not only for itself, but in the stead of another, namely, the object nay rather, 
it is not needed on its own account, but on account of the object by which the power is per- 
fected without constituting therewith some nature. . . . [F]or an intentional form entitatively 
considered depends in its being on a subject as do the other forms, and it actuates the subject 
just as they do. But the object represented in the specifier, by contrast, receives no being from 
the subject nor does it constitute with that subject some nature, but is presented to the power 
in such a way that it determines and actuates that power intelligibly without altering and 
transmuting it in the order of mind-independent being or constituting with it some third thing. 
Likewise, the power does not employ the entitative dimension of the specifying form as a princi- 
ple specifying its acts, but uses rather the object represented in it as the specificative; but a 
cognitive power must be actuated by its specificative insofar as it is something specificative. If 
therefore the power is not specified by the entitative aspect of the specifier, yet indeed by the 
object represented, another union or actuation or determination must intervene between the 
object represented and the cognitive power, and this union is called 'intelligible' or 'intentional,' 
whereas the union between the entitative aspect of the specification and the power is an ac- 
cidental union, that is, one of inherence [and subjective]. Finally, the specifying form inheres 
in [i.e., subjectively modifies] the power even when the object is not actually cognized, but the 
specifying forms are preserved there in the manner of other accidents. When, on the other hand, 
the power actually cognizes, then it is actuated by the specifying form not only entitatively, 
but it is actuated by the object itself contained and represented therein; for the power is not 
always actuated by this dimension of the form, but only then while it actually cognizes." Thus 
the case is somewhat similar to that of the closed bock (cf . First Preamble, Article 3, 70/30-71/19; 
Book I, Question 1, 127/8-131/7; Book II, Question 5, 258/8-28. 

Further to this analysis see Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 6. art. 3. in toto, but esp. 186b3-40 and 186M2- 
187a31; Question 5, note 21, p. 201 below; and Book II, Question 2, note 8, p. 243. 


[677a20-b25] 185 

specifying form as intentionally, not only as entitative- 
ly, informing. And for this reason the stimulus object is 
preserved in respect of the intellect of a pure spirit, not 
because the object moves by impressing specifying forms, 
but because the object determines and actuates that 
cognitive power formally, not as that object exists in itself 
entitatively, but intentionally, as represented in the 
specifier, although it is God that effectively infuses that 

To the confirmation 18 the response is that a stimulus 
object specifies a cognitive act by determining or actuating 
a passive power which is movable by the stimulus ob- 
ject, and by initiating or causing the act as regards 
specification. For a stimulus object, which specifies a 
cognitive act, does not respect the act as a subject mov- 
able by the stimulus object itself, but as something ini- 
tiated or principled; but a stimulus object does respect 
the cognitive power, which it determines, as a movable 
subject [since it determines the power to a particular 
act]. Whence we deny that a stimulus object specifies 
the power as a movable subject, but it specifies the act, 
whose principle it is, as principled [specifically initiated] 
by the object itself. For an action, as St. Thomas says 
in his Commentary on Aristotle's treatise On the Soul, 
Book II, reading 6, 19 is specified by a principle or ini- 
tiation and a terminus; but because it initiates the act by 
moving and determining the power to elicit this specific 
cognitive act in particular, an object is called a stimulus 

A fourth argument is against the rationale of ter- 
minative object. For according to my doctrine the rationale 
of object is to be an extrinsic formal specifier; but a ter- 
minus as terminus does not specify an act or a power; 
therefore a terminative object as terminative is not an 

The minor premise is proved first, because other- 
wise the terminus of a categorial relation would be its 
object, because it specifies by terminating. Second, be- 
cause something specificative of an act and of a physical 
power must itself be something mind-independent, be- 
cause the specifying form given by that specificative thing 
is independent of mind and dependent on the specifi- 
cative as on something perfecting and actuating. But it 
is certain that a terminative object is not always some- 
thing physical; for the rationale of object is found even 
in a mind-dependent being, as we said in our introduc- 
tory question concerning the object of Logic. 20 Third, 

entitative tantum informante. Et hac ra- 
tione salvatur respectu intellectus angeli 
obiectum motivum, non quia movet 
obiectum imprimendo species, sed quia 

5 determinat et actuat ipsam potentiam 
formaliter, non ut in se est entitative, 
sed intentionaliter, ut repraesentatum in 
specie, Deus autem effective illam infun- 

10 Ad confirmationem 18 responde- 
tur obiectum motivum specificare actum 
determinando seu actuando potentiam 
passivam, quae est mobilis ab ipso, et 
principiando seu causando actum quoad 

is specif icationem. Nam obiectum moti- 
vum, quod specificat actum, non res- 
picit actum ut mobile a se, sed ut prin- 
cipiatum; potentiam vero, quam deter- 
minat, respitit ut mobile. Unde negamus, 

20 quod obiectum motivum specificet mo- 
bile, quod est quasi subiectum, sed speci- 
ficat actum, cuius est principium, quasi 
principiatum a se. Actio enim, ut elicit 
D. Thomas, 19 specificatur a principio et 

25 fine; sed quia principiat actum movendo 
ac determinando potentiam, ut eliciat 
talem speciem actus, dicitur obiectum 

Quarto arguitur contra rationem 

30 obiecti terminativi. Nam obiectum a no- 
bis constituitur in ratione extrinseci 
specificativi; sed terminus ut terminus 
non specificat actum vel potentiam; ergo 
terminativurn ut terminativum non est 

35 obiectum. 

Minor probatur primo, quia alias ter- 
minus relationis praedicamentalis esset 
obiectum eius, quia specificat terminan- 
do. Secundo, quia specificativum actus et 

40 potentiae realis debet esse aliquid reale, 
cum species ab eo data realis sit et ab eo 
ut a perficiente et actuante dependeat. 
Constat autem obiectum terminativum 
non semper esse aliquid reale; invenitur 

45 enim ratio obiecti etiam in ente rationis, 
sicut de obiecto Logicae diximus q. 1. 
prooemiali. 20 Tertio, quia omne specifica- 

18 183/20-22. 

19 2. de Anima lect. 6. (Pa XX. 55 b). 

20 Logica 2. p. q. 1. art. 3. See also note 35, p. 190 below, with further references therein. 

186 [677b25-678a28] 


because every specificative is a formal cause at least ex- 
trinsically. But every formal cause is a principle giving 
being; for it is form that determines the existence of a 
thing. Therefore every object is a principle insofar as it 
is an object and not a terminus, because it is a formal 
specifying cause; and so every object will be a stimulus 
object which specifies in the mode of a principle. 

This is confirmed, because a stimulus object and 
a terminative object participate in the rationale of ob- 
ject analogically, therefore the one is an object simply, 
the other only in a qualified way, and the rationale of 
object does not belong to both simply. 

The antecedent is proved first because mind- 
independent and mind-dependent objects alike are 
stimulus objects and terminative objects; and second 
because active and passive powers function analogical- 
ly in the order of power, as is said by St. Thomas in 
his Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle Book IX, 
lect. I. 21 Therefore the stimulus and terminative ob- 
jects corresponding to these powers are also analogues. 
Whence a stimulus object is an object that actuates and 
informs simply, and so it is said analogically that both 
a stimulus and a terminative object specify or have the 
rationale of a specifying form. 

Response is made to the principal argument 22 by 
denying the minor premise. 23 

To the first proof 24 the response is that the terminus 
of a relation does not specify precisely as it is a terminus, 
but as it is subject to a fundament, without which the 
specific type of relations is not understood, as we have 
said in our Preamble on Relation 25 and as is establish- 
ed by St. Thomas in his Commentary on the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, Book I, dist. 26, q. 2, art. 3. 26 By contrast, 
an object specifies essentially insofar as it is an object. 

To the second proof 27 the response is that an intrin- 
sic specificative giving a specific physical character to 
an act must necessarily be something independent of 
being itself objectively known in its being, but not an 
extrinsic specificative, because an extrinsic specificative 
specifies not by informing and inhering, but by ter- 
minating the tendency of another or by determining ex- 
trinsically in relation to the eliciting of an act. And thus 
it suffices for an extrinsic specificative that it should 








tivum est causa formalis saltern extrinseca. 
Omnis autem causa formalis est principium 
dans esse; forma enim est, quae dat esse 
rei. Ergo omne obiectum est principium, in 
quantum obiectum et non terminus, quia 
est causa formalis specificans; et sic erit 
obiectum motivum, quod per modum prin- 
cipii specif icat. 

Confirmatur, quia obiectum moti- 
vum et terminativum analogice participant 
rationem obiecti, ergo alterum simpliciter, 
alterum secundum quid, et non utrique 
convenit simpliciter ratio obiecti. 

Antecedens probatur, turn quia utrumque 
tarn obiecto reali quam rationis convenit; 
turn quia potentia activa et passiva 
analogice se habent in genere potentiae, 
ut dicitur 9. Metaph. lect. 1. apud D. Tho- 
mam. 21 Ergo et obiectum motivum et ter- 
minativum illis correspondens analoga 
sunt. Unde motivum est, quod simpliciter 
actuat et informat, et sic analogice dicitur 
utrumque specif icare seu habere rationem 
formae specif icantis. 

RESPONDETUR ad principale argumen- 
tum 22 negando minorem. 23 

Ad primam probationem 2 * respondetur, 
quod terminus relationis non specificat ut 
praecise terminus est, sed ut subest fun- 
damento, sine quo species relationum non 
sumitur, ut diximus [in] Praeambulo 
Secundo, 25 et constat ex D. Thoma in 1. 
dist. 26. q. 2. art. 3., 26 obiectum autem per 
se in quantum obiectum specificat. 

Ad secundam probationem 27 respondetur, 
quod specificativum intrinsecum dans spe- 
ciem realem actui necessario debet esse 
aliquid reale, specificativum autem ex- 
trinsecum non, quia non informando et 
inhaerendo specificat, sed tendentiam 
alterius terminando vel ad elicientiam ac- 
tus determinando extrinsece. Et ita sufficit, 
quod media specie reali, quae intrinsece in- 

21 Pa XX. 530 a. 

22 185/30-35. 

23 185/32-33. 

24 185/36-38. 

25 In the original Latin: "q. 17." See especially Article 2 of the Second Preamble, 88/8-89/20, 
93/1-14; Article 3, 101/2-14, 101/30-102/1. See also Appendix C, 380/lOff. 

26 Pa VI. 221 b. 

27 185/38-47. 


[678a28-b32] 187 

determine the power itself to act by means of a specify- 
ing form independent of being itself apprehended as 
object, which form intrinsically informs physically, even 
if the object itself [the extrinsic specif icative] in itself is 
not mind-independent or does not physically exist. 28 

To the third proof 29 the response is that a terminus 
has the rationale of a cause or of an effect according to 
diverse considerations, just as causes are causes one to 
another. Inasmuch as it precisely terminates in the mode 
of execution and effect, a terminus does not specify, but 
rather is specified and given existence. But inasmuch 
as this terminus is considered as perfecting and consum- 
mating in existential fact an act of a power, it gives a 
specific character by terminating and perfecting, and so 
is considered as a principle and extrinsic cause deter- 
mining existence consummatively and finally, not as 
stimulus and initially; for it is the rationale of the perfec- 
tion in the act as consummated, not as initiated. And 
thus St. Thomas says in the Summa theologica, I-II, q. 
33, art. 4, reply to obj. 2, that "operation causes joy as 
the efficient cause, but joy perfects the operation as an 
end." Whence a terminative object does not coincide 
with a stimulus object; it also precedes in intention, even 
though in execution as an effect it follows or receives 
and does not give specification. 

To the confirmation 30 I respond by denying the 
antecedent. 31 To the first proof of the antecedent 32 the 
response is that whether an object is mind-independent 
or mind-dependent makes a difference only in the ra- 
tionale of being, not in the rationale of object and 
knowable thing. Something can well be an object simply 
and not be a being simply. For the differences of things 
in physical existence and being are one matter, dif- 
ferences in the rationale of an object and cognizable 
thing quite another, as Cajetan well notes in his Com- 
mentary on the Summa theologica, I, q. 1, art. 3. And so 
many things coincide univocally in the rationale of the 
knowable, and not in rationale of [entitative] being, or 
conversely. And similarly can many things coincide 
specifically in the rationale of the knowable and not in 
the rationale of being, or conversely, as is more fully 
discussed in the last question of my discussion of the 
books of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics. 33 For the present 
purpose, a few examples illustrative of this point will 

format realiter, ipsam potentiam deter- 
minet ad actum, etiamsi obiectum ipsum 
in se reale non sit vel realiter non exis- 
tat. 28 

5 Ad tertiam probationem 29 respondetur, 
quod terminus secundum diversam con- 
siderationem habet rationem causae vel 
effectus, sicut causae ad invicem sunt 
causae. Et quatenus praecise terminat per 

w modum executionis et effectus, non spe- 
cif icat, sed speciem recipit et existentiam. 
Quatenus vero consideratur iste terminus 
ut perficiens et consummans in facto esse 
actum potentiae, dat speciem terminan- 

15 do et perficiendo, et sic consideratur ut 
principium et causa extrinseca dans esse 
consummative et finaliter, non motive et 
initialiter; est enim ratio perfectionis in ac- 
tu ut consummatae, non ut initiatae. Et 

20 ita dicit S. Thomas 1. 2. q. 33. art. 4. ad 
2., quod operatio causat delectationem 
ut causa efficiens, delectatio autem per- 
ficit operationem ut finis. Unde non coin- 
cidit cum obiecto motive; praecedit etiam 

25 in intentione, licet in executione ut effec- 
tus sequatur seu recipiat, non det specifi- 

Ad confirmationem 30 negatur an- 
tecedens. 31 Ad primam probationem 32 re- 

30 spondetur, quod obiectum esse reale vel 
rationis solum facit differentiam in ra- 
tione entis, non in ratione obiecti et cog- 
noscibilis. Et stat bene, quod aliquid sit 
simpliciter obiectum, et simpliciter non 

35 sit ens. Aliae enim sunt differentiae rerum 
in esse rei et entis, aliae in ratione obiecti 
et cognoscibilis, ut bene advertit Caieta- 
nus 1. p. q. 1. art. 3. Et sic univoce con- 
veniunt plura in ratione scibilis et non in 

40 ratione entis, vel e contra. Et similiter pos- 
sunt convenire specifice in ratione scibilis 
et non in ratione entis, vel e converse, ut 
plenius dicitur quaest. ult. in libros Poste- 
riorum. 33 Nunc sufficit exemplum ponere 

28 See notes 6 and 17 above; and Book I, Question 1, note 25, with further references. 

29 185/47-186/7. 
30 186/8-12. 

31 186/8-10. 
32 186/13-15. 

33 Logica 2. p. q. 27. art. 1., Reiser ed. 818b24-820alO: "Est cerium, quod scientiae, sicut omnes 
alii habitus, ex obiecto sumunt suam speciem, ut constat ex 2. de Anima textu 33. [c. 4. (415 a 20)] et 

188 [678b32-39] TRACTATUS DE SIGNIS 

suffice. Logic is a science univocally with the other in Logica, quae univoce est scientia cum 

sciences which treat of mind-independent being, al- aliis, quae agunt de ente reali, cum ipsa 

though Logic itself treats of mind-dependent being; agat de ente rationis; et univoce convenit 

and God and a creature coincide univocally in the ra- Deus et creatura in ratione scibilis meta- 

tionale of a metaphysical object or knowable, but not 5 physici, non in ratione entis; et quanti- 

in the rationale of being; and quantity and substance tas et substantia univoce sunt scibilia a 

determinat D. Thomas 1. p. q. 77. art. 3., et sic semper debent adaequari et conformari unitas et distinctio 
potentiae vel habitus cum unitate vel distinctione obiecti in ratione obiecti [further at 829a39-b4, 834a40-b3]. 

"Denique cerium est specificationem hanc scientiarum non sumi ex unitate vel distinctione obiecti 
in esse rei, sed in esse obiecti, id est non ab obiecto considerate materialiter et entitative in se, sed ut con- 
Audi vel proportionatur tali habitui vel potentiae [see further 824b30-44, 828a36-bl5]. Ideoque optime 
monuit Caietanus 1. p. q. 1. art. 3. aliam esse rationem obiecti in ratione seu formalitate obiecti, aliam 
in esse rei; et alias esse species rerum in esse rei, alias in esse obiecti, ut ipsa exempla dare demonstrant. 
Nam color in esse qualitatis est quoddam genus, quod dividitur in varias species, et tamen in ratione visibilis 
habet eandem speciem obiecti visus. Omnia corpora habent eandem speciem in ratione obiecti philosophici, 
omnia entia in ratione Metaphysicae, licet in ratione entitativa corporis et entis in tarn varias species dividan- 
tur. E contra vero idem color diverse modo attingitura visu et ab intellectu, eadem res ut bona a voluntate, 
ut vera ab intellectu, eadem terra ut rotunda ab astrologo, ut mobilis a physico, et sic de multis aliis. Unde 
constat aliam esse rationem specificam rei, aliam obiecti in esse et ratione formali obiecti. 

"Quare in praesenti ad hoc devolvitur fere TOTA DIFFICULTAS, ut investigemus, quae sit ilia ratio 
formalis, quae specifice constituit obiectum in ratione obiecti scientiae et facit ab olio differe in ipsa ratione 
specifica. Ut autem diximus in quaest. 1. prooemiali art. 3. [see note 13 above for detailed exposi- 
tion], distingui solet in ratione formali obiecti ratio quae et ratio sub qua. Quae distinctio reicienda non 
est, ut facit Vazquez 1. p. disp. 7. cap. 3. Nam in ipso obiecto, quod attingitur a diversis habitibus vel 
potentiis, designanda est aliqua ratio, quae specialiter attingitur ab uno et quae specialiter ab alio, et ista 
ratio, quae specialiter est attacta, dicitur formalis ratio quae, id est quae attingitur ad differentiam materialis 
obiecti, quod per talem rationem specialem determinatur, ut attingatur. Ratio autem sub qua dicitur for- 
malis ilia ratio, quae ceteras actuat et sub se continet, ut attingatur a potentia. Quia enim contingit id, 
quod est formale respectu unius, esse materiale respectu alterius, idea ultima formalitas, sub qua ceterae 
continentur, dicitur formalis ratio sub qua simpliciter. Et sicut ex parte obiecti cognoscibilis consideratur 
formalitas, quae attingitur, et ratio ultima formalis, sub qua ceterae redduntur attingibiles, quae coincidere 
solet cum ipsa ratione quae ultima; ita ex parte potentiae correspondet ratio formalis sub qua attingendi 
obiectum, quod est ipsum lumen seu actualitas, qua potentia redditur ordinata et actuata ad tale obiectum. 
Exemplum manifestum est in visu. Nam corpus, v. g. paries vel lapis, est materiale, quod videtur, formale 
autem, quo determinatur ad visum potius quam ad auditum, est color, et est ratio formalis, quae videtur. 
Rursus vero color actuatur et formatur a luce, et ilia est ultima formalitas, qua redditur obiectum visibile 
et sub qua ceterae rationes ordinantur ad visum, ex parte vero oculi datur lumen, sub quo actuata potentia 
procedit ad videndum. 

"Similiter ergo applicando haec obiecto scibili et scientiae, obiectum scibile est aliquid complexum constans 
ex subiecto, de quo proprietas aliqua seu passio demonstratur. Et hoc obiectum, quod est veritas conclu- 
sionis illata, illuminari debet per aliquod medium, quod in praemissis ponitur tamquam principium, a quo 
infertur ilia veritas et inferendo illuminatur, et ita definitiones, quae se habent ut principia seu media 
demonstrandi passiones, debent habere rationem determinandi scibilitatem talis obiecti illati illuminando 
illud. Unde si quaelibet quidditas adaequate et secundum quod est in se cognosceretur, unaquaeque fun- 
daret distinctam scientiam ab alia respectu suarum passionum [this is the truth which founds the thrust 
of the insight attributed to Banez at 824b45-825b35 "in quo videtur mentem D. Thomae attigisse"], 
sicut probabile est distingui scientiam infusam in Christo secundum distinctionem specierum repraesen- 
tantium quidditates, ut significat D. Thomas 3. p. q. 11. art. 6. [See further 824a39-b44.] Nunc autem 
cum intellectus sit unitivus et praecisivus nee quamlibet naturam intelligat, ut est adaequate in se, sed 
coordinat et coniungit cum alia, et e contra unam et eandem rem diversis modis intelligit, contingit diver- 
sas naturas pertinere ad eandem scientiam et eandem naturam in diversis scientiis considerari, et sic oportet 
assignare aliquam rationem, qua plures naturae uniantur in eadem scientia, vel diversas, quibus diversi- 
mode considerentur a diversis" [see further 825b22-35, 829a20-bl9]. "It is certain that the sciences, 
like all habits, are determined in type by their objects, as is clear from what Aristotle says in 
Book 2 of his treatise On the Soul, chap. 4, 415 a 20, and as St. Thomas establishes in his Summa 
theologica, I. q. 77, art. 3, and so the unity and distinction of a power or habit must always be 
adequated to and conformed with the unity or distinction of an object in the rationale of object 
[further at 829a39-b4, 834a40-b3]. 

BOOK ONE, QUESTION FOUR [678b39-679a3] 189 

are univocally knowable by Mathematics and Physics, just Mathematica et Physica, sicut ipsae scien- 

as these sciences are themselves univocally sciences, but tiae univoce sunt scientiae, non in ra- 

quantity and substance are not univocal in rationale of be- tione entis. Ratio enim scibilis solum dicit 

ing. For the rationale of the knowable only bespeaks the connexionem necessariam veritatis, quae 
necessary connection of truth, which connection coincides 5 univoce in ratione veri convenit cum 

univocally with any other necessary connection whatever quacumque alia necessaria connexione, 

in the rationale of the true, even if they would not coincide etiamsi in ratione entis non conveniant. 

in rationale of being. And when it is said that an object Et cum dicitur, quod obiectum perficit 

perfects a power, the response is that even a mind-depen- potentiam, respondetur, quod etiam ens 

"Finally, it is certain that this specification of the sciences (the ways of knowing) is not derived 
from the unity or distinction of the object in the order of physical being, but in objective being, 
that is to say, not from an object considered materially and in its proper entitative existence, 
but as it conduces or is proportioned to a given habit or power [see further 824b30-44, 828a36-bl5]. 
And therefore Cajetan wisely points out in his Commentary on the Summa theologica of St. Thomas, 
Part I, q. 1, art. 3, that the rationale of an object in the rationale or formality of an object is 
something quite other than the rationale of an object in the order of physical existence; and 
that the species or types of things in the order of physical existence are something quite differ- 
ent from the species or types of objective being, as examples clearly show. For color existing 
as a quality is one kind of thing, which is divided into various species [red, blue, green, etc.], 
and yet in the rationale of something visible color has the single specific character of the object 
of sight. All bodies have the same specific type in the rationale of a philosophical object, all 
beings in the rationale of Metaphysics, although in the entitative rationale of body and of being 
they are divided into so many [i.e., a great variety of] species or types. Conversely, on the other 
hand, the same color is attained in a different way by sight and by the understanding, the same 
thing is differently attained by the will as good and as true by the understanding, the same 
earth as round by the astronomer, as changeable by the philosopher of nature, and so on with 
a multitude of other examples. Whence it follows that the specific rationale of a thing is other 
than that of an object in the being and formal rationale of object. 

"Wherefore in the question before us [whence derives the specific unity or diversity of the 
sciences in the rationale of the knowable] practically the entire difficulty to be investigated comes 
down to this: what is that formal rationale which specifically constitutes an object in the ration- 
ale of an object of one type of knowledge and thanks to that same rationale makes it differ from 
the object of another type of knowledge [e.g., what makes an object of chemistry, say, differ 
from an object of psychology, or of mathematics, and so on]. As we have said in our introduc- 
tory question to Material Logic, art. 3 [see note 13 above for detailed consideration], within the 
formal rationale of an object, the rationales 'which' and 'under which' are customarily distin- 
guished. Nor should this distinction be rejected, as it is by Vazquez in his Commentary on and 
Disputations about the Summa theologica of St. Thomas, I. p., disp. 7, cap. 3. For in the very object 
which is attained by diverse habits or powers, some rationale which is specially attained by one 
rather than another habit or power must be designated, and this specially attained rationale 
is what is called the 'formal rationale which,' that is, which is attained as differentiating a material 
object which is determined that it may be attained through such a special rationale [e.g., as noisy, 
or colored, or hard, etc.]. By contrast, that formal rationale which actuates the others and con- 
tains them under itself that a given object may be attained by. a power, is called the 'rationale 
under which.' For it happens that what is formal respecting one rationale is material in respect 
of another, and for this reason the ultimate formality under which the others are contained is 
called 'the formal rationale under which' without qualification. And just as the formality which 
is attained, and the ultimate formal rationale under which others are rendered attainable (which 
coincides in the customary way of speaking with the ultimate rationale which), must be taken 
account of on the side of the object, so on the side of the power there corresponds a formal 
rationale under which of attaining the object, which is the very light or actuality by which the 
power is rendered ordered and actuated respecting that specific object. The case of seeing pro- 
vides a clear example. For a body say, a wall, or a stone is a material object which is seen, 
but the formal object by which it is determined to [the power of] sight rather than to hearing 
is color, and that is the formal rationale which is seen. But again, color is actuated and formed 
by illumination, and that is the ultimate formality by which the object is rendered visible and 
under which the other rationales are ordered to sight, while on the side of the eye there is the 
light under which the actuated power proceeds to the seeing. 

190 [679a3-29] TRACTATUS DE SIGNIS 

dent being perfects, not by reason of itself formally, but rationis perficit, non ratione sui formaliter 

by reason of its fundament and of the mind-independent sed ratione sui fundamenti et entis realis, 

being on whose pattern it is conceived. 34 ad cuius instar concipitur. 34 

And if you should say: the rationale of the know- Et si dicas: Nam ista ratio cognoscibilis 
able is surely transcendent relative to this or that know- 5 transcendens est ad istam vel illam ratio- 
able rationale, and therefore is not univocal: The response nem cognoscibilis, ergo non univoca: Re- 
is that the cognizable in general, like the true and the spondetur, quod cognoscibile in communi, 
good and the coincident properties of being, is analogous sicut verum et bonum et passiones entis, 
to this or that knowable, in the manner of any essence est analogum ad hoc vel illud cognoscibile, 
predicable by a predicability of the second predicable w per modum cuiusdam quidditatis prae- 
[namely, species] or of the first predicable [namely, dicabilis praedicabilitate secundi praedica- 
genus]; that is to say, it is predicated transcendentally bilis vel primi seu transcendentaliter. Ce- 
in all univocal categories. Moreover, we say that this or terum hoc vel illud cognoscibile determin- 
that determinate knowable can be univocal in respect of atum ditimus, quod univocum esse potest 
the subjects or beings to which it belongs denominatively is respectu subiectorum seu entium, quibus 
in the manner of the fourth predicable [namely, prop- convenit denominative per modum quarti 
erty] or of the fifth predicable [namely, accident], even vel quinti praedicabilis, licet ilia entia 
though those beings are not univocal entitatively, for the univoca non sint entitative, eo quod non 
reason that the determinate knowable in question is not consequitur ad ens, ut in se absolute sumi- 
consequent on being as it is taken in itself absolutely, 20 tur, sed comparative ad potentiam cognos- 
but comparatively to a knowing power, and there can centem, et potest esse idem modus com- 
be a same way of relating in things not univocally coin- parandi in rebus non univoce convenien- 
cident according to themselves and entitatively. 35 tibus secundum se et entitative. 35 

"Similarly, therefore, applying this to the case of the knowable object and science, the 
knowable object is something complex consisting of a subject of which some property or char- 
acteristic [some genotypic or phenotypic trait] is demonstrated. And this object, which is the 
truth of an inferred conclusion, must be illuminated through some medium which is posited 
in the premises as a principle from which that truth is inferred and by the inferring illuminated, 
and thus definitions, which stand as the principles or media of demonstrating characteristics, 
must have the rationale of determining the knowability of such an inferred object by illuminat- 
ing it. Whence if any knowable essence whatever were cognized adequately and according as 
it is in itself, each such would found a science distinct from every other in respect of its own 
characteristics [this is the truth which founds the thrust of the insight attributed to Banez at 
824b45-825b35 "whereby he seems to have gotten the thought of St. Thomas"], in the manner 
that the infused knowledge in Christ is probably to be distinguished according to a distinction 
of species representing essences, as St. Thomas signifies in the Summa theologica, III, q. 11, art. 
6. [See further 824a39-b44.] But now, since the understanding is unitive and precisive, nor does 
it grasp any nature whatever as it is adequately in itself, but coordinates and conjoins [one nature] 
with another, and conversely understands one same nature in diverse ways, it happens that 
diverse natures pertain to the same science and that the same nature is considered in different 
sciences, and so it is necessary to assign some reason whereby several natures are united in 
the same science, or diverse reasons whereby the natures are differently considered by the dif- 
ferent sciences" [see further 825b22-35, 829a20-bl9]. 

34 See note 35 below, Question 1 above, 130/44-131/18. 

35 Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 2. art. 3., Reiser ed., III. 77b26-78a46: "... non attendi formaliter in obiecto 
potentiae realitatem seu entitatem, prout habet esse in se, sed proportionem et coaptationem ad potentiam. 
Quae quidem proportio, ut subiective existat in re, debet esse realis, sed secundum comparationem ad poten- 
tiam non consideratur formaliter, quod sit subiective in ipsa re, sed quod se habet obiective ad talem poten- 
tiam, licet aliunde, si potentia ipsa solum respiciat ens reale, etiam in ratione obiecti realitatem petal non 
prout existentem, sed prout comparatam ad potentiam. Existentia enim semper est in ordine adseet subiective, 
ad potentiam autem semper se habet obiective. Unde ens rationis, licet in se subiective non habeat realita- 
tem, potest tamen esse obiectum actus intellectus et specificare ilium ratione proportionis obiectivae, quam 
induit in ordine ad intellectum, quando habet fundamentum reale et ad instar realitatis concipitur. Tune 
enim perficere et specificare potest intellectum perfectione reali, non innata sibi aut existente in se, sed 
emendicata et appropriata ab entitate reali, ad cuius instar obiective concipitur, ut diximus in Logica q. 1. 

BOOK ONE, QUESTION FOUR [679a30-37] 191 

To the second proof of the antecedent 36 it is said Ad secundam probationem 36 dicitur, quod 

that St. Thomas, in the text in question, plainly speaks D. Thomas aperte loquitur de potentia in 

of power as a principle for acting; for it is in this way ratione principii ad agendum; sic enim non 

that a passive and an active power do not coincide conveniunt univoce potentia passiva et ac- 

univocally, because a passive power does not princi- s tiva, quia passiva non principiat actum, nisi 

pie (or initiate) an act except dependently upon an ac- dependenter ab activa, cum de se non sit 

art. 3. ad 1. Et ita, licet realitas et entitas subiective considerata conveniat enti reali et rationis analogice, 
et non eodem modo simpliciter, obiective tamen simpliciter et univoce inveniri potest in ente rationis, quia 
supposita emendicatione ab ente reali et fundamento ipsius, proportio ipsa et coaptatio ad potentiam, quae 
sola pertinet ad rationem obiectivam, per se invenitur, quia vere et proprie coaptatur, ita ut verum et pro- 
prium actum intelligent terminet sicut alia obiecta. 

"Nee obstat, quod ens rationis habet esse per ipsum actum intellectus; ergo non perficit nee specificat 
ilium, sed perficitur ab illo. Respondetur enim, quod ens rationis habet esse ab intellectu per modum exis- 
tentiae non realiter, sed denominative, scilicet quantum ad denominationem cogniti, quae consequitur ac- 
tum intellectus. Et idea tails denominatio consecuta non est ratio perficiens intellectum, sed ut effecta et 
consecuta, perficit autem ens rationis intellectum, in quantum antecedenter ad istam denominationem, 
ratione sui fundamenti induit coaptationem et proportionem obiectivam, qua vere et proprie terminat ut 
obiectum intellectus, eo quod licet sit ens fictum, non tamen ficte obicitur et intelligitur, sed verum actum 
terminat vera terminatione, etsi ficta entitate.""ln the object of a power the focus of attention 
is not formally mind-independent or entitative reality, according as the object has being in itself, 
but the proportion and adaptation to the power. This proportion indeed as it subjectively exists 
in a thing must be mind-independent; but in terms of the relation to the power, that it exists 
subjectively in the thing itself is not what is regarded, but rather that it exists objectively relative 
to the power in question although on other grounds, if the power itself respects only mind- 
independent being [as the external senses], it will also require a mind-independent being in 
the object, not as existing, but as related to the power. For existence is always in an order to 
itself and subjectively, whereas to a power it always pertains objectively. Whence a mind- 
dependent being, although in itself it has subjectively no reality, can still be the object of an 
act of understanding and specify that act by reason of an objective proportion which it takes 
on in an order to the understanding when it has a real fundament and is conceived on the pat- 
tern of mind-independent being. For then it can perfect and specify the understanding by a 
mind-independent perfection, not one innate to itself or existing in itself, but one borrowed and 
appropriated from mind-independent entity, on whose pattern it is objectively conceived, as 
we have said in the Logic 2. p. q. 1. art. 3 [Reiser ed., 265b44-266bl2] . Thus, even though reality 
and the character of being belongs to mind-independent and mind-dependent being analogical- 
ly, and not simply in the same way, nevertheless, objectively it can be found in a mind-dependent 
being simply in the same way as in a mind-independent being, because, presupposing a bor- 
rowing from mind-independent being and from its fundament,' the very proportion and adap- 
tation to a cognitive power which alone pertains essentially to an objective rationale is there, 
for the mind-dependent being is truly and properly coapted, so that it terminates a true and 
proper act of understanding exactly as do other objects. 

"Nor does it matter that the mind-dependent being has existence from the act itself of under- 
standing; therefore it does not perfect and specify that act, but is perfected by it. The answer 
to this is that the mind-dependent being has existence from the understanding after the manner 
of an existence not mind-independently, but denominatively, that is to say, as regards the 
denomination of 'known thing,' which follows upon an act of understanding. And for this reason 
such a consequent denomination is not a rationale perfecting the understanding, but as one 
effected and consequent, yet the mind-dependent being does perfect the understanding insofar 
as, antecedently to this denomination, by reason of its fundament, it takes on an objective adap- 
tation and proportion whereby it truly and properly terminates as an object of understanding, 
by the fact that, even though it is a constructed or fictive being, it is nevertheless not fictively 
objectified and understood, but terminates a true act by a true termination, although by a fictive 
entity." And, as we have seen, particularly in Article 3 of the First Preamble, the same basic 
notions hold for the higher powers of purely sensory life. See also the discussion of this in notes 
6 and 13 above; Question 1, note 25 (with further references); Question 2 above, 149/41-151/21; 
and in Book II, Question 1, 235/36-236/46, Question 5, 270/37-271/21. This, then, is the heart 
of Poinsot's difference with Suarez introduced in the note at the beginning of the First Pream- 
ble, and grounded in their opposed understanding of relative being. 

36 186/15-20. 

192 [679a37-b5] 


tive power, because, of itself, a passive power is not 
in act. But in the rationale of something specifiable by 
an extrinsic principle an active and a passive power 
are related univocally, since they both have the 
signification of a thing thus dependent. To the added 
proposition that a stimulus object actuates simply, but 
not a terminative object, I answer that in specifying 
extrinsically both objects actuate simply, inasmuch as 
a power or act depends on both in its action and perfec- 
tion. For even though that object by which a passive 
power is moved to elicit an act [i.e., a stimulus object] 
approaches more in the mode of something moving 
to the actuation of the intrinsic form, nevertheless, the 
specification depends simply on both. 

in actu. Ceterum in ratione specif icabilis ab 
extrinseco principio univoce se habent pas- 
siva et activa potentia, cum utraque signi- 
ficationem sic dependentem habeat. Quod 

5 vero additur obiectum motivum simpliciter 
actuare, non terminativum, respondetur, 
quod in specificando extrinsece utrumque 
simpliciter actuat, quatenus ab utroque 
dependet in sui actione et perfectione 

w potentia vel actus, licet illud, a quo poten- 
tia passiva movetur, ut actus eliciatur, 
magis in modo movendi accedat ad actua- 
tionem formae intrinsecae, simpliciter 
tamen ab utroque dependet specif icatio. 



Whether to Signify, Formally Considered, Is To Cause Something 
in the Order of Productive Causality 


Utrum Significare Sit Formaliter Causare Aliquid 
in Genere Efficiendi 

That the point of difficulty may be clearly under- 
stood, we take it for granted that we are not, in 
the present context, speaking of sign and significa- 
tion in terms of the very relation in which a sign 
formally consists, as we have shown above; 1 for a 
relation is in no way productive, but purely respec- 
tive of a terminus, and to respect is not to effect. 
We are speaking, therefore, of the fundament of a sign 
and of signification, inasmuch as the fundament rep- 
resents to a cognitive power something for which the 
sign substitutes and is vicegerent in representing 
that something to the power. 2 And we are asking 
whether this leading and presentation or representa- 
tion of its significate to a power is some kind of effi- 
cient causality, or should be placed in some other order 
of cause. 

In the act itself of signifying or representing, we can 
distinguish three things which seem to pertain to mak- 
ing an object present in a power; for to represent is 
nothing other than to make an object present or united 
to a power. 

The first is an emission or production of specifiers 
which comes about in a power by the agency of an 
object and external sign. 

The second is the excitation of a power to direct at- 
tention, which is distinguished from the impression 




Ut punctus difficultatis clare intelligatur, 
SUPPONIMUS nos non loqui in praesenti de 
signo et significatione pro ipsa relatione, 
in qua formaliter signum consistit, ut su- 
pra 1 ostendimus; nam relatio nullo modo 
est effectiva, sed pure respectiva ad ter- 
minum, respicere autem non est efficere. 
Loquimur ergo de fundamento signi et sig- 
nificationis, quatenus repraesentat poten- 
tiae cognoscitivae aliquid, pro quo substi- 
tuit et vices ger;t in repraesentando ipsum 
potentiae. 2 ET INQUIRIMUS, an ista deduc- 
tio et exhibitio seu repraesentatio sui sig- 
nificati ad potentiam sit aliqua effectio, vel 
in quo genere causae collocari debeat. 

Possumus autem in ipso significare seu 
repraesentare DISTINGUERE tria, quae viden- 
tur pertinere ad faciendam praesentiam 
obiecti in potentia; repraesentare enim non 
est aliud quam facere obiectum praesens 
seu unitum potentiae. 

Primum est emissio seu productio 
specierum, quae ab obiecto et signo extrin- 
seco fit in potentiam. 

Secundum est excitatio potentiae, ut 
attendat, quae distinguitur ab ipsa impres- 

1 Question 1. 

2 See esp. 201/28-203/32 below and discussion surrounding 380/4-7 in Appendix C. 

194 [679b44-680a44] 


itself of specifying forms; for even after the specifiers 
have been received, someone needs to be aroused to 

The third is the concurrence [of a sign] with a power 
to elicit an awareness of a thing signified. To elicit 
this act, an external sign concurs by means of the 
intrinsically received specifying form, through which 
it not only concurs in the formation of an awareness 
of itself, but also of the significate to which it leads. 
But this concurrence with a power is not the act of 
signifying, 3 because this concurrence pertains to the 
eliciting of knowledge. To elicit knowledge, however, 
is not to signify, but if the knowledge is of a signi- 
fied, it is the terminus and end of signifying; for a 
sign works to this end, that an awareness may be 
had of the thing signified. On the other hand, if the 
cognition is of the sign itself, it is presupposed to 
the actual signifying, because from the fact of being 
something known, an external sign leads to another 
or signifies. Nor do we doubt but that this repre- 
sentation of a thing signified and leading of a power 
to the significate to be attained, since it is some new 
reality, must have an efficient or productive cause. But 
we are asking whether this event, precisely as it 
depends upon the sign, depends in the order of a pro- 
ductive cause in such a way that the sign effects 
signification and that signifying in second act is a pro- 
duction of an effect; or whether indeed this event is 
from another cause effectively, but from the sign vice- 

There is only one conclusion: The act of signify- 
ing or representing is in no way effectively produced 
by a sign, nor is to signify, formally speaking, to pro- 
duce an effect. 

Therefore this proposition: "A sign effects," is 
never in the fourth mode of essential predication 
[agency, "secondness": cf. 1632: 770a40-b6]. This con- 
clusion, which is very common among the more recent 
Thomists, who are wont to take it up in daily disputa- 
tions, can be gathered originally FROM ST. THOMAS'S 
Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 11, art. 1, reply to obj. 
4, 4 where he says that "the proximate cause produc- 
tive of knowledge is not signs, but reason inferring 
from principles to a conclusion." 

sione specierum; nam etiam post receptas 
species indiget aliquis excitatione ad atten- 

Tertium est concursus cum potentia 

5 ad eliciendam notitiam rei significatae, ad 
quern actum eliciendum concurrit signum 
extrinsecum mediante specie intrinsece re- 
cepta, per quam non solum concurrit, ut 
formetur notitia sui, sed etiam signati, ad 

10 quod deducit. Ceterum iste concursus cum 
potentia non est significare, 3 quia concur- 
sus iste pertinet ad elicientiam cognitionis. 
Elicientia autem cognitionis non est signi- 
ficare, sed si sit cognitio signati, est ter- 

35 minus et finis significandi; ad hoc enim 
movet signum, ut accipiatur notitia signati. 
Si vero est cognitio ipsius signi, praesup- 
ponitur ad significare, quia ex eo, quod est 
cognitum, ducit ad aliud seu significat. Nee 

20 dubitamus, quin ista repraesentatio signati 
et deductio potentiae ad ipsum attingen- 
dum, cum sit aliquid de novo in rerum 
natura, aliquam causam efficientem habere 
debeat. Sed inquirimus, an prout pendet 

25 a signo, pendeat in genere causae effectivae 
ita, quod signum efficiat significationem et 
significare in actu secundo sit efficere; an 
vero ab alia causa sit effective, a signo vero 
vice obiective. 

30 SIT UNICA CONCLUSIO: Significare seu 
repraesentare nullo modo est a signo ef- 
fective, nee significare loquendo formal- 
it er est efficere. 

Itaque haec propositio: Signum efficit, 

35 numquam est in quarto modo per se [agere 
proprie alterando: cf. 1632: 770a40-b6]. 
Haec conclusio, quae valde communis est 
inter recentiores thomistas, qui illam quoti- 
dianis disputationibus agitare solent, im- 

40 primis colligi potest ex D. Thoma q. 11. de 
Veritate art. 1. ad. 4., 4 ubi inquit, quod 
proximum effectivum scientiae non sunt 
signa, sed ratio discurrens a principiis ad 

3 The Lyons text of 1663 adds here: "id est movere potentiam et repraesentare, quod facit signum, 
sed effectus eius; ex motione quippe signi sequitur cognitio in potentia concurrente obiecto, ad hoc enim 
movet." "that is to say, it is not the movement of the cognitive power and act of representing 
which the sign performs, but an effect of it; for indeed a cognition follows in the power from 
the movement of a sign when an object concurs, for it is relative to this object that the sign 
moves." See note 21 below. 

4 Pa IX. 184 b. 


[680a45-681a9] 195 

Principally, however, the stated conclusion has its 
FOUNDATION in two principles: 

The first is that an object, insofar as it exercises an 
objective causality in respect of a power and represents 
itself, does not do so effectively [that is, productively], 
but only functions as an extrinsic form which is applied 
to a cognitive power by some other efficient cause and 
is rendered present to that power by means of a speci- 
fying form. In cases where the very object possesses also 
an effective force for applying itself to a cognitive power, 
this active capacity functions materially and incidentally 
[relative to the object as an extrinsic specificative], just 
as in the case of natural beings a form manifests its 
presence in matter, but precisely as derived from the 
form that presence does not exist effectively but formal- 
ly, for it is brought about effectively [productively] by 
the agent applying and uniting the form. 

The second principle is that a sign falls under the 
notion of and is substituted in the place of an object in 
this very line and order of an objective cause, but not 
in the rationale of something productively applying nor 
of something leading a power to a thing signified in the 
mode of an effective cause. Rather a sign is an objec- 
tive cause, not the principal objective cause, but a 
substitutive one, by reason of which a sign is said to 
be instrumental, not indeed as if it were an instrument 
of an agent producing a physical effect, but as it is a 
substitute for an object, not informing as a specifying 
form, but representing from the outside. 

The first principle is explained thus: Because the ration- 
ale of an object, as we saw in the preceding question, 5 does 
not consist in this, that it emit and produce forms represen- 
tative of itself (specifiers) in a cognitive power, etc. For it is 
certain that the specifying forms are sometimes infused ef- 
fectively by God, as in the case of pure spirits and of in- 
fused knowledge, when the object [known] is not effective- 
ly impressing [does not produce specifying impressions]. 
And the root reason for this is that the rationale of an ob- 
ject is preserved in this, that something is representable 
and knowable passively by a power. But to be represent- 
able passively does not of itself and as such bespeak [active] 
capacity for applying and uniting an object to a power, but 
bespeaks that which is [passively] united and made pres- 
ent; for just as to represent is to make present, so to be 
represented and representable is to be made present. If 
therefore the rationale of object is preserved through a 
thing's being representable, consequently making the 
representation actively is outside the rationale of object 
and not required for it; just as if a form consists in being 

Praecipue tamen habet suum FUNDA- 
MENTUM in duobus principiis: 

Primum est, quod obiectum, in quan- 
tum exercet causalitatem obiectivam re- 

5 spectu potentiae et repraesentat se, non 
effective id f acit, sed solum se habet ut for- 
ma extrinseca, quae ab alio efficiente ap- 
plicatur et praesens redditur per species 
ipsi potentiae. Quodsi ipsum obiectum 

w etiam habet vim effectivam se applican- 
di, id materialiter et per accidens se habet, 
sicut in naturalibus forma praesentiam sui 
exhibet in materia, sed prout a forma non 
est ilia praesentia effective, sed formaliter, 

15 effective autem fit ab applicante et uniente 

Secundum principium est, quod signum 
succedit et substituitur loco obiecti in hac 
ipsa linea et ordine obiectivae causae, non 

20 autem in ratione applicantis effective nee 
deducentis potentiam ad signatum modo 
effectivo, sed obiectivo, non principali, 
sed substitutivo, ratione cuius signum 
dicitur instrumentale, non quidem quasi 

25 instrumentum efficientis, sed quasi sub- 
stitutum obiecti, non informans sicut spe- 
cies, sed ab extrinseco repraesentans. 

Primum principium explicatur 
sic: Quia ratio obiecti, ut vidimus 

30 quaest. 5 praec., non consistit in hoc, quod 
emittat et producat species sui in poten- 
tia cognoscitiva etc. Constat enim species 
aliquando infundi effective a Deo, ut in 
angelis et scientia infusa, obiecto non im- 

35 primente effective. Et radicalis huius ratio 
est, quia ratio obiecti salvarur in hoc, quod 
aliquid sit repraesentabile et cognoscibile 
passive a potentia. Esse autem repraesen- 
tabile passive de se et ut sic non dicit vir- 

40 tutem applicantem et unientem obiectum 
potentiae, sed id, quod unitur et praesens 
fit; sicut enim repraesentare est praesens 
facere, ita repraesentari et repraesentabile 
est praesens fieri. Si ergo ratio obiecti 

45 salvarur per hoc, quod sit repraesentabile, 
consequenter hoc, quod est facere reprae- 
sentationem active, extra rationem obiecti 
est nee requisitum ad rationem obiecti; 
sicut si forma consistit in hoc, quod sit 

In the original Latin: "art." 

196 [681a9-bl9] 


unitable to matter as informing and by its presence 
making matter known, the rationale of form cannot 
consist in effectively applying and uniting itself to 
matter. Whence an object is compared by St. Thomas 
to a form or actuality by which a power is rendered 
actuated and formed. For the understandable [actu- 
ated] is the understanding actuated, as he teaches 
in the Summa theologica, I, q. 14, art. 2, and q. 79, 
art. 2, and in many other places. Therefore to rep- 
resent or to make present does not pertain to the 
object itself as it is formally an object, as to the 
cause effecting or producing this presentation, but 
as to the form and act which is presented and united 
to a power. 

But from this same reason it follows that to ex- 
cite effectively does not pertain to the rationale of 
an object, both because this excitation comes about 
effectively by the agency of another cause, whether 
from within by God or from without by a man or 
some other agency proposing and applying an ob- 
ject to sense; and because in an excitation the ob- 
ject is that which is applied to a power, but it is not 
required that it be itself the thing effectively produc- 
ing the application. Finally, for the production of 
awareness an object placed within a power through 
a specifying form can effectively concur, not in vir- 
tue of the object as it is specifying, but in virtue of 
the power determined and actuated through the ob- 
ject out of which is constituted conjointly with the 
power one single principle in act, not that the object 
itself adds a productive vitality to the power. And 
this concurrence or production of cognition is not 
the act of signifying or of representing; for an elicita- 
tion of cognition supposes an object represented to 
a power and stimulating the power to tend toward 
a consummate cognition and representation of the 
thing signified. And thus, that cognition of the 
signified is the terminus and end of a signification; 
for it moves in an order to knowing. 

The second principle is declared by the very 
rationale proper to a sign as it is a sign, because a 
sign is substituted for an object in order to bring that 
object to a power in the way in which the object per- 
forms essentially in the rationale of an object. For 
a sign indeed, if it is instrumental and external, does 
not represent its significate otherwise than by 
representing itself as the more known object, and 
the significate as something virtually contained in 
itself, that is to say, as something more unknown, 
to which the sign expresses some relation and con- 
nection. Therefore its concurrence for representing 









aliquid unibile materiae ut inf ormans et sui 
praesentia intimans materiam, non potest 
consistere ratio formae in hoc, quod effec- 
tive applicet et uniat se materiae. Unde 
obiectum a D. Thoma comparatur formae 
seu actualitati, qua potentia redditur ac- 
tuata et formata. Intelligible enim est actus 
intellectus, sicut docet 1. p. q. 14. art. 2. 
et q. 79. art. 2. et multis aliis locis. Igitur 
repraesentare seu facere praesens non per- 
tinet ad obiectum ipsum, ut formaliter 
obiectum est, tamquam ad causam effici- 
entem hanc praesentationem, sed ut ad for- 
mam et actum qui potentiae praesentatur 
et unitur. 

Ex eadem autem ratione constat, quod 
ad rationem obiecti non pertinet excitare ef- 
fective, turn quia haec excitatio effective fit 
ab alia causa, vel interius a Deo vel exterius 
ab homine aut alio proponente et appli- 
cante obiectum sensui; turn quia in excita- 
tione obiectum est id, quod applicatur po- 
tentiae, non vero requiritur, quod sit ipsum 
applicans effective. Denique ad productio- 
nem notitiae obiectum intra potentiam 
positum per speciem potest effective con- 
currere, non in vi obiecti, ut specificans est, 
sed in vi potentiae determinatae et actuatae 
per obiectum, ex quo et potentia unicum 
principium constituitur in actu, non ipsum 
obiectum virtutem addit potentiae effecti- 
vam. Et iste concursus seu productio cog- 
nitionis non est significare seu repraesen- 
tare; elicientia enim cognitionis supponit 
obiectum repraesentatum potentiae et mo- 
vens, ut tendat ad consummatam cognitio- 
nem et repraesentationem signati. Et ita ilia 
cognitio signati est significationis terminus 
et finis; mo vet enim ad cognoscendum. 

Secundum principium ex ipsa ra- 
tione propria signi, ut signum est, declara- 
tur, quia signum substituitur loco obiecti, 
ut ducat ipsum ad potentiam eo modo, quo 
obiectum faceret per se in ratione obiecti. 
Etenim signum si sit instrumentale et ex- 
trinsecum, non aliter repraesentat signatum 
quam repraesentando se ut obiectum magis 
notum, et signatum ut aliquid in se virtu- 
aliter contentum seu ut ignotius, ad quod 
dicit habitudinem et connexionem aliquam. 
Ergo concursus eius ad repraesentandum 


[681bl9-682a24] 197 

the significate to a power is the same as its concurrence 
for representing itself, because by representing itself it 
represents also the signified as pertaining to itself. 
Whence emission of specifying stimuli and excitation of 
a power pertains to the sign in the same way that it per- 
tains to an object when an object represents itself, to wit, 
by causing it objectively, not productively, because an in- 
strumental sign does not represent a signified otherwise 
than by first representing itself as an object, and then 
further extending the representation of itself to another 
virtually implicit and contained in itself. Therefore a sign 
does not represent objectively absolutely, but objectively 
instrumentally and as serving for another. 6 But if the sign 
is a formal sign, it is clear that it does not represent pro- 
ductively, but of itself represents formally, as follows from 
its definition and as is clear in awareness and conception, 
the subject of Books II and III 7 of this work. 


The conclusion that signification as such does not in- 
volve productive causality can be disputed first from 
various passages written by St. Thomas. For in the Sum- 
ma theologica, III, q. 62, 8 art. 4, reply to obj. 1, he says that 
"there is in a person's voice a certain capacity for exciting 
the mind of another, which is produced in the voice in- 
sofar as it proceeds from a conception of the one speak- 
ing." But this capacity of which St. Thomas speaks is a 
physically productive capacity. For St. Thomas says there 
that the spiritual energy in the sacraments exists in just 
the way that that excitative energy exists in the voice. But 
that energy which is in the sacraments is a causally ef- 
fective energy; therefore so also is the energy of a per- 
son's voice for exciting and consequently for signifying, 
for the excitation comes about by signification. 

Similarly in the Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 11, 
art. 1, reply to obj. II, 9 St. Thomas says that "the words 
of a teacher are more proximate to the causing of 
knowledge than are the sensible things independent of 
the mind, insofar as words are the signs of intelligible in- 
tentions." Therefore words cause knowledge insofar as 
they are signs, not by representing objectively, but by 
leading to the thing signified. 

Likewise in the Commentary on the Sentences of Peter 
Lombard, Book IV, dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1, quaestiunc. 1, reply 
to obj. 5, 10 he says that "a demonstration that such 
and such is the case proceeds from a common sign"; 

signatum potentiae est idem atque ad re- 
praesentandum se, quia repraesentando se 
repraesentat etiam signatum ut pertinens 
ad se. Unde emissio specierum et excitatio 

5 potentiae eo modo pertinet ad signum sicut 
ad obiectum quando se repraesentat, scil- 
icet obiective id causando, non effective, 
quia non aliter signatum repraesentat quam 
prius se ut obiectum repraesentando, ul- 

w terius extendendo repraesentationem sui 
ad aliud in se virtualiter implicitum et con- 
tentum. Et ideo signum non repraesentat 
obiective absolute, sed obiective instrumen- 
taliter et ut deserviens ad aliud. 6 Si autem 

15 sit signum formale, constat, quod non ef- 
fective, sed seipso formaliter repraesentat, 
ut ex eius definitione constat et patet in 
notitia et conceptu, de quo seq. libros. 7 



Primo argui potest ex variis auctoritati- 
bus S. Thomae. Nam in 3. p. q. 62. 8 art. 
4. ad 1. dicit, quod in voce est virtus 
quaedam ad excitandum animum alterius 

25 proveniens in voce, in quantum procedit 
ex conceptione loquentis. Haec autem vir- 
tus, de qua loquitur D. Thomas, est virtus 
effectiva physice. Dicit enim ibi S. Thomas, 
quod eo modo se habet vis spiritualis in 

30 sacramentis, sicut ilia vis excitativa in voce. 
Ilia autem, quae est in sacramentis, vis ef- 
fectiva est; est ergo et ista, quae est in voce 
ad excitandum et consequenter ad signifi- 
candum, significatione enim excitatio fit. 

35 Similiter in q. 11. de Veritate art. 1. 
ad II. 9 inquit D. Thomas, quod verba 
doctoris propinquius se habent ad causan- 
dum scientiam, quam sensibilia extra ani- 
rnam, in quantum sunt signa intelligibil- 

40 ium intentionum. Ergo in quantum signa 
causant scientiam, non obiective reprae- 
sentando, sed deducendo ad rem signifi- 

Item in 4. dist. 1. q. 1. art. 1. quaes- 

45 tiunc. 1. ad 5. 10 inquit, quod demonstra- 
tio quia procedit a signo communi; de- 

6 See Book I, Question 2, 151/9-14; and cf. Book II, Question 2, note 27, toward the end. 

7 In the original Latin: "seq. quaest." 

8 Correcting the erroneous reference to "q. 64" in the original. 

9 Pa IX. 185 a. 
10 Pa VII. 455 b. 

198 [682a24-b34] 


but a demonstration effectively produces knowledge 
by reason of the material from which it is established, 
not by reason of a second intention; therefore a sign, 
from which a demonstration is established, effectively 
flows into knowledge. 

And finally in his Treatise on the Unity of the 
Intellect Against the Averroists, chap. 3, n. 219, " he says 
that "the action of a mirror, which is to represent, can- 
not be attributed to the man [reflected in the mirror]," 
thereby granting that to represent or to signify is at 
least sometimes an action. 

The response to the first citation from St. Thomas 12 
is that the excitative energy in a person's voice is not 
the actual signification itself or the signifying of the 
voice, since one is aroused rather to attending to the 
signification of the voice. Rather, the voice's energy is 
the use itself of the speaker's understanding manifesting 
his concept through the voice, as Cajetan points out in 
his Commentary on the passage in question. This use 
[made of the voice] is something besides the sig- 
nification, because it applies the very voice signifying 
in order to fix the other's attention. And so that exci- 
tation and excitative energy proceeds effectively, as a 
kind of hidden energy, from the one uttering the voice 
and using it, whereas the moving representatively and 
objectively proceeds from the signifying voice. And this 
excitative energy, i.e., the use of a voice derived from 
a speaker's understanding, St. Thomas compares to that 
sanctifying motion by which God moves and uses the 
sacraments for producing grace, because the sacraments 
are as it were a kind of sign and voices of God exciting 
us to grace and producing grace. But this energy is ut- 
terly distinct from the signification itself of the sacra- 
ments, for it is superadded to that signification in the 
same way that the use and excitative energy of speech 
is superadded to the signification of words. For excita- 
tion occurs to this end, that we attend to the signification 
and be moved by that signification. And precisely as 
resulting from a signifying voice, this signification or 
representation does not work effectively, but objectively; 
but as the voice is used by one speaking and stimu- 
lating, it has a causally productive energy for exciting, 
born not of the representation, but of the one pro- 
pounding and using the voice derivatively signifying, 
and thus the one speaking functions as applying the 
signifying voice, while the signifying voice functions 
as [passively] applied and signifying representative- 
ly. Nor need we now dispute whether that energy 

monstratio autem effective producit scien- 
tiam ratione materiae, ex qua constat, non 
ratione secundae intentionis; ergo signum, 
ex quo constat demonstratio, effective in- 

5 fluit in scientiam. 

Ac denique in opusc. 16. Ostenso 
igitur etc." dicit, quod actio speculi, quae 
est repraesentare, non potest attribui homi- 
ni; datur ergo repraesentare seu signifi- 

w care, quod est actio. 

RESPONDETUR ad primum locum D. 
Thomae, 12 quod ilia virtus excitativa in 
voce non est ipsa significatio actualis seu 
signif icare vocis, cum potius ad hoc aliquis 

is excitetur, ut ad vocis significationem atten- 
dat, sed est usus ipse intellectus loquentis 
et manifestantis per vocem suum concep- 
tum, ut Caietanus advertit super dictum 
locum. Qui usus est aliquid praeter signif i- 

20 cationem, cum vocem ipsam significantem 
applicet, ut alter attendat. Et sic a profe- 
rente vocem et utente ilia procedit effective 
talis excitatio et excitativa vis quasi energia 
quaedam latens, a voce autem significante 

25 repraesentative et obiective movente. Et 
hanc vim excitativam, i. e. usum vocis ab 
intellectu loquentis derivatum comparat 
Divus Thomas virtuoso illi motui, quo Deus 
movet et utitur sacramentis ad producen- 

30 dam gratiam, eo quod sacramenta sunt 
sicut quaedam signa et voces Dei excitan- 
tis nos ad gratiam ipsamque producentis. 
Quae vis longe distincta est a significatione 
ipsa sacramentorum, superadditur enim illi 

35 sicut usus vocis et vis excitativa superad- 
ditur signif icationi vocis. Fit enim excitatio 
ad hoc, ut attendamus ad significationem 
et moveamur ab ipso. Et significatio seu 
repraesentatio ista prout a voce significante 

40 non est effective, sed obiective; ut autem 
vox movetur a loquente et excitante, vim 
habet effectivam excitandi, non a reprae- 
sentatione ortam, sed a propenente et 
movente vocem significantem derivatam, 

45 atque ita loquens se habet ut applicans 
vocem significantem, vox signih'cans ut ap- 
plicata et signif icans repraesentative. Nee 
debemus modo disputare, an ilia vis et usus 

11 De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas (Pa XVI. 216 b). 
12 197/20-34. 


[682b35-683a34] 199 

and use of voice is some physical power superadded 
to the voice, or something moral. 13 For it suffices for 
what has been proposed that that excitation, as it func- 
tions effectively (whether morally or physically), is not 
the very act of signifying, and does not proceed effec- 
tively from the sign in signifying, unless perchance the 
signification itself were called morally 14 or metaphori- 
cally or rather grammatically an action and productive 

To the second citation from q. 11 of the Disputed 
Questions on Truth, 15 the response is that St. Thomas 
says that the words of a teacher are more proximately 
[closely] related to causing knowledge [than are sen- 
sory things], but he does not say that they are related 
thereto productively, but it suffices for them to be more 
proximate [closer] representatively or objectively, be- 
cause a sign is a substitute for the thing signified. 

The response to the third citation 16 is that 17 in a de- 
monstration by a sign the actual representing and signi- 
fying of the sign is not the effecting of the demonstration 
or the production of knowledge, but that knowledge 
proceeds effectively from the understanding moved by 
the object and the sign objectively, not effectively, 
representing. And so says St. Thomas himself, in the 
article cited above from the Disputed Questions on Truth, 
q. 2, art. 1, reply to obj. 4: 18 "signs are not the proxi- 
mate cause productive of knowledge, but the under- 
standing itself is the proximate productive cause." 

The response to the last citation 19 is that the action of 
a mirror is said to represent presuppositively, as it were, 
not formally, because through a reflection of light a mir- 
ror productively generates an image, which represents. 

It is argued secondly: Some rationale of pro- 
ducing effectively is included in the very definition of 
an instrumental sign, therefore a sign effects (i.e., causes 
productively) insofar as it is formally a sign. 

The antecedent is proved from St. Augustine's 
commonly accepted definition of a sign: "A sign is 
something which, beyond the impressions that it con- 
veys to the senses, makes something else come into 

vocis sit aliquid physicae virtutis superad- 
ditum voci, vel quid morale. 13 Sufficit enim 
ad propositum, quod ilia excitatio, ut effec- 
tive se habet sive moraliter sive physice, 

5 non est ipsum significare, nee a signo in 
significando procedit effective, nisi forte 
significatio ipsa moraliter 14 seu metaphor- 
ice aut potius grammaticaliter dicatur actio 
et efficientia. 

w Ad secundum locum ex q. 11. de 
Veritate 15 respondetur S. Thomam dicere, 
quod proximius se habent verba doctoris ad 
causandum scientiam, sed non dicit, quod 
effective se habent, sed sufficit, quod re- 
is praesentative seu obiective proximius, quia 
signum est substitutum rei significatae. 

Ad tertium locum 16 respondetur, 
quod 17 in demonstratione a signo ipsum 
repraesentare et significare signi non est ef- 

20 ficere demonstrationem, aut producere sci- 
entiam, sed ilia procedit effective ab intel- 
lectu moto ab obiecto et signo obiective, 
non effective repraesentante. Et sic dicit 
ipse D. Thomas q. 2. de Veritate art. 1. sup. 

25 cit. ad 4., 18 quod proximum effectivum 
scientiae non sunt signa, sed ipse intel- 

Ad ultimum 1 o c u m 19 respondetur, 
quod repraesentare dicitur actio speculi 

30 quasi praesuppositive, non formaliter, quia 
speculum per refractionem luminis generat 
effective imaginem, quae repraesentat. 

Secundo arguitur: In ipsa definitione 
signi instrumentalis includitur aliqua ratio 

35 efficiendi, ergo signum formaliter in quan- 
tum signum efficit. 

Antecedens probatur ex ilia communi de- 
finitione Augustini: Signum est, quod 
praeter species, quas ingerit sensibus, ali- 

40 quid aliud facit in cognitionem venire. Ubi 

13 "quid morale": i.e., the endurance of cultural stipulations in the habit structures engendered 
by socialization: cf . Book II, Question 5, note 19 toward the end. Also Deely, 1980a: 215 note 7. 

14 Cf . Question 2 above, 142/14, and below, Book II, Question 6, 280/26-36; and references 
in preceding note. 

15 197/35-42. 
16 197/43-198/5. 

17 The 1663 Lyons text adds: "... quod demonstratio procedens a signo supponit signum cognitum 
et a fortiori repraesentatum. Et ita ipsum repraesentare etc. "". . . that a demonstration proceeding 
by sign supposes the sign cognized and a fortiori represented. And so the actual representing 
as such etc." 

18 Pa IX. 184 b. 

19 198/6-11. 

200 [683a34-b45] 


knowledge." In this definition, "to convey sense im- 
pressions" and "to make something else come into 
knowledge" both alike import productive causality; for 
by the same movement and causality by which it con- 
veys sense impressions for representing itself, it leads 
to the cognition of another. But to convey sense impres- 
sions is to effect and produce them, therefore to lead 
to the cognition of another is likewise to function pro- 
ductively. But this is posited in the definition of a sign; 
therefore it is essential to a sign to effect [to exercise an 
efficient causality] insofar as it is a sign, which is to 
signify. For to effectively represent is nothing other than 
to produce a representation. But a sign effects sense im- 
pressions, which are representations; therefore it 
represents effectively, i.e., by producing effects. 

This is confirmed by the fact that many kinds 
of productive causality belong to signs insofar as they 
signify. For the sacraments, which are signs, effect in- 
sofar as they signify; therefore to signify in the case of 
the sacraments is formally to effect, otherwise they 
would not formally be practical signs, if they did not 
effect insofar as they signify. Similarly, it belongs to a 
sign, insofar as it signifies, to excite a power, to emit 
impressions (specifying stimuli), to influence the infer- 
ring of a conclusion, the whole of which belongs to pro- 
ductive causality. 

The response to this argument 20 is that the two factors 
posited in the definition of an instrumental sign, name- 
ly, to convey sense impressions and to make something 
else come into cognition, do not express signification in 
the mode of efficient causality. For to convey impressions 
or specifying forms is common to sign and non-sign alike; 
for even an object which represents itself and does not 
signify itself, conveys impressions, and the object does 
not do this effectively insofar as it is an object, as we have 
proved. Whence the so-called productivity of a significa- 
tion cannot consist in the conveying of sense impressions. 
But if external objects effectively impress specifying 
forms, that efficiency does not constitute the object in 
the rationale of object, but arises from some power, either 
an occult power of the celestial spheres, as some think 
and as St. Thomas suggests in q. 5, art. 8, of his Disputed 
Questions on the Power of God, or from some manifest 
power, as from light in the case of colors, from refracted 
air in the case of sounds, etc. But in the second of the 
two factors, which is to make something else come into 
cognition, the phrase "to make" does not indicate pro- 
ductivity on the part of the sign, but a quasi-objective 
or vice-objective representation, which does not express 

tarn ingerere species quam facere aliud in 
cognitionem venire importat efficientiam; 
eodem enim motu, et causalitate, qua in- 
gerit species ad repraesentandum se, du- 

5 cit ad cognitionem alterius. Ingerere au- 
tem species est efficere et producere illas, 
ergo et ducere ad cognitionem alterius est 
effective se habere. Hoc autem ponitur 
in definitione signi; ergo essentiale est 

10 signo efficere in quantum signum, quod 
est significare. Nihil enim aliud est effec- 
tive repraesentare quam efficere reprae- 
sentationem. Efficit autem species, quae 
sunt repraesentationes; ergo repraesen- 

15 tat effective. 

Conf irmatur, quia signo, in quan- 
tum significat, convenit multiplex efficien- 
tia. Sacramenta enim, quae sunt signa, 
efficiunt in quantum significant; ergo for- 

20 maliter in illis significare est efficere, alio- 
quin formaliter non essent signa practica, 
si in quantum significant, non efficerent. 
Similiter convenit signo, in quantum sig- 
nificat, excitare potentiam, species irnrnit- 

25 tere, ad inferendam conclusionem influ- 

ere, quod totum effectivae causalitatis est. 

Respondetur, 20 quod ilia duo in 

definitione signi posita, scilicet ingerere 

species et facere in cognitionem venire, 

30 non dicunt significationem per modum ef- 
ficientiae. Nam ingerere species est com- 
mune signo et non signo; nam etiam ob- 
iectum, quod se repraesentat et non se 
significat, ingerit species, et hoc non facit 

35 obiectum effective, in quantum obiectum 
est, ut probavimus. Uncle in hoc, quod est 
ingerere species, non potest consistere ef- 
ficientia significationis. Quodsi obiecta ex- 
terna effective imprimunt species, ilia ef- 

40 ficientia non constituit obiectum in ratione 
obiecti, sed provenit a virtute aliqua, vel 
occulta ipsius coeli, ut insinuat S. Thomas 
q. 5. de Potentia art. 8. et aliqui putant, 
vel manifesta, ut a luce in coloribus, ab 

45 acre refracto in sonis, etc. In secundo 
autem, quod est facere in cognitionem venire, 
ly facere non dicit efficientiam ex parte 
signi, sed repraesentationem quasi obiec- 
tivam seu vice obiectivam, quae non dicit 

20 199/33-200/15. 


[683b45-684a39] 201 

a productive concurrence, but the concurrence of an 
extrinsic formal cause first stimulating representatively 
to make itself known, and besides this also leading to 
an awareness of something else. 21 

To the confirmation 22 the response is that each in- 
stance of productive efficiency which is enumerated 
in the argument is extrinsic and superadded to the sign 
as signifying, nor is it essentially required for signify- 
ing that efficiency be added to the sign; whence it is 
that the proposition, "A sign effects," is never in the 
fourth mode of essential predication. For that the 
sacraments effect insofar as they signify is not because 
the signification is formally an effectuation, but because 
efficiency is adjoined and bound to the signification, 
either in a moral way, inasmuch as the sacraments are 
practical and by the command of God and the active 
will of the minister, proceed to work not precisely by 
enunciating, but by directing to work. Or else, as 
another opinion has it, they act in a physical way by 
receiving the power to produce grace from a command 
of God. To the added remarks concerning the excita- 
tion of a cognitive power and the emission of sense 
impressions or specifiers, it has already been said that 
such excitation does not belong to the sign as it is a 
sign effectively, but objectively or vice-objectively; but 
objective causality pertains to a formal extrinsic cause, 
not to an efficient cause. 23 

It is argued thirdly: There can be a formal 
sign which is denominated such not from the very rela- 
tion which is most formal in the sign (otherwise every 
sign would be a formal sign, because every sign ex- 
presses relation), but from its fundament, because 
specifically a sign-relation is founded on something 

concursum efficientem, sed causae formalis 
extrinsecae moventis quidem repraesenta- 
tive ad sui cognitionem, et praeter hoc 
etiam ad alterius notitiam. 21 

5 Adconfirmatione m 22 respondetur 

omnem illam efficientiam, quae in argu- 
mento numeratur, esse extrinsecam et su- 
peradditam signo ut significant! nee ad 
significationem per se requiri, ut illia adiun- 

w gatur; unde numquam est in quarto modo 
per se ,,signum efficit". Nam quod sacra- 
menta efficiant, in quantum significant, 
non est, quia significatio formaliter sit ef- 
fectio, sed quia signification! adiungitur et 

is alligatur efficientia, vel modo morali, qua- 
tenus practica sunt et ab imperio Dei et 
voluntate practica ministri procedunt non 
praecise enuntiando, sed ad opus dirigen- 
do, vel etiam modo physico, ex Dei imperio 

20 accipiendo virtutem ad producendam gra- 
tiam. Quod vero additur de excitatione 
potentiae et immissione specierum, iam 
dictum est, quod talis excitatio non conve- 
nit signo ut signum est effective, sed obiec- 

25 tive seu vice obiective; obiectiva autem 
causalitas ad formalem extrinsecam perti- 
net, non ad efficientem. 23 

Tertio arguitur: Potest dari signum for- 
male, quod denominatur tale non ab ipsa 

30 relatione, quod formalissimum est in signo, 
alias omne signum esset formale, quia dicit 
relationem, sed ab eius fundamento, quia 
scilicet fundatur relatio signi in aliquo, 

21 See Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 6. art. 3., Reiser ed. III. 189a42-bl6: "Species comparata ad obiectum, 
cuius gerit vices, nullam efficientiam habet circa ipsum, sed nudam repraesentationem, quae non est effi- 
cientia erga obiectum, cum plerumque tale obiectum non existat, ut circa illud operari possit, et tamen 
aeque bene repraesentat. Et sic non pertinet ad speciem efficere aliquid circa obiectum, sed solum loco illius 
subrogari et reddere illud unitum et praesens potentiae, quod nihil efficientiae dicit, sed ionium imita- 
tionem vel similitudinem, quae ad genus causae formalis reducitur, -qua redditur obiectum cognoscibile 
et proxime habile ipsi potentiae, ut ipsi uniatur cognoscibiliter, quod totum pertinet ad genus causae for- 
malis, quae vice obiecti actuat et repraesentat." "Compared to the object of which it is vicegerent, 
a specifying form has no relation of efficient causality, but bare representation, which is not 
an efficiency respecting the object, since very often the object in question does not exist for the 
form to be operative upon, and yet it represents in such a circumstance equally well. Thus it 
does not pertain to a specifier to effect anything with regard to an object, but only to be sur- 
rogated (substituted) in the place of that object and render it united with and present to the 
cognitive power, which function bespeaks nothing of efficiency, but only imitation or similitude, 
which is reduced to the order of a formal cause whereby an object is rendered knowable and 
proximately habilitated to the power itself, that it be united thereto in a knowable way, the whole 
of which pertains to the order of a formal cause that actuates and represents on behalf of the 

22 200/16-26. 

23 See Question 4 above, 166/4-168/48. 

202 [684a39-b46] 


which represents to a cognitive power by informing that 
power as concept and awareness. Similarly, therefore, 
because the fundament of an instrumental sign effects, 
that is to say, emits, specifying forms and excites a 
cognitive power and unites to it the represented thing, 
an instrumental sign will be said to signify productive- 
ly or effectively, just as a formal sign is said to signify 

This is confirmed by the fact that a sign is tru- 
ly called instrumental, and therefore also effective, 
because an instrumental cause is reduced to an effec- 
tive cause, not to a formal cause. Nor does it avail to 
say that an instrumental sign is a logical instrumental 
cause, not a physical one. For a logical instrument is 
one that causes by means of some intention of reason. 
But an instrumental sign, particularly if it is a natural 
one, does not cause by means of an intention of reason, 
but by the mind-independent reality of a representariofi. 

The response to this argument 24 is that it is entirely 
true that a sign is formal or instrumental by reason of 
the fundament of the sign-relation itself, but not on the 
part of the relation. 25 Moreover, since this fundament 
is the very rationale of manifesting another on the side 
of the object or vice-object it is not impossible for this 
fundament to function in the order of formal cause from 
the side of the object; but it is impossible for it to func- 
tion in the order of efficient cause. For indeed the very 
rationale of an object as such is to be the act and form 
of a power; and only incidentally, owing to the fact that 
it cannot be within the power entitatively, is the object 
within the power intentionally by means of its signs, 
which function in the capacity of that object as they are 
concepts and apprehensions. Whence an extrinsic for- 
mal causality belongs to an object essentially. But that 
it should sometimes be intrinsic, through itself or 
through its signs conjoined and united with a power, 
is not contradictory. But that an object should effectively 
move a power by applying and representing, is outside 
the line of an objective cause and pertains to another 
line of causality, not to an object as object, as we have 
often said. If an object happens also to have an effective 
energy for applying and presenting itself by producing 
impressions or specifications, that will be incidentally 
and materially or concomitantly, not essentially formally 
and in the fourth mode of essential predication. 

If you should press the question by ask- 
ing: What therefore is it to signify and to manifest, if 
it is neither to excite nor to emit specifying forms nor 

quod informando potentiam ei repraesen- 
tat, ut conceptus et notitia. Ergo similiter 
quia fundamentum signi instrumentalis ef- 
ficit, scilicet immittit species et excitat unit- 

5 que potentiae rem repraesentatam, poterit 
dici effective significare, sicut formale 
signum dicitur significare formaliter. 

Confirmatur, quia signum vere 
dicitur instrumentale, ergo et effectivum, 

w quia causa instrumentalis ad effectivam 
reducitur, non ad formalem. Nee valet 
dicere, quod est instrumentalis logica, non 
physica. Nam instrumentum logicum est, 
quod mediante aliqua intentione rationis 

is causat. Signum autem praesertim naturale 
non causat media intentione rationis, sed 
realitate repraesentationis. 

RESPONDETUR 24 verissimum esse, quod 
signum esse formale vel instrumentale ex 

20 ratione fundamenti ipsius relationis signi 
desumitur, non vero ex parte relationis. 25 
Ceterum hoc fundamentum cum sit ratio 
ipsa manifestandi aliud ex parte obiecti seu 
vice obiecti, non repugnat, quod in genere 

25 causae formalis fiat ex parte obiecti; repug- 
nat autem, quod in genere causae efficien- 
tis. Etenim ipsa ratio obiecti de se est actus 
et forma potentiae et per accidens, quia en- 
titative intra potentiam esse non potest, in- 

30 tentionaliter est per sua signa, quae vices 
gerunt illius, ut sunt conceptus et notitiae. 
Unde causalitas formalis extrinseca per se 
convenit obiecto. Quod vero aliquando sit 
intrinseca, per se vel per sua signa poten- 

35 tiae coniuncta et unita, non repugnat. At 
vero, quod effective potentiam moveat ap- 
plicando et repraesentando obiectum, extra 
lineam causae obiectivae est et ad aliam 
lineam causandi pertinet, non ad obiectum 

40 ut obiectum, ut saepe diximus. Quodsi ob- 
iectum etiam habeat vim effectivam appli- 
candi et praesentandi obiectum efficiendo 
species, id erit per accidens et materialiter 
seu concomitanter, non per se formaliter 

45 et in quarto modo. 

Quodsi instes: Quid est ergo significare 
et manifestare, si neque est excitare neque 
emittere species neque producere cogni- 

24 201/28-202/8. 

25 Cf. Question 2, 145/10-22 above; and below, Book II, Question 1, 229/24-38, 238/28-45. 


[684b46-685a33] 203 

to produce knowledge effectively? The response is that 
it is to render an object present to a cognitive power 
in the capacity of the object or thing signified. How- 
ever, it must be noted that the presence of an ob- 
ject in a power in first or second act depends on 
many causes: on the cause producing the impres- 
sions (the specifying forms) or applying the object 
effectively; on the cognitive power generating 
awareness, also effectively; on the object formally 
presenting itself extrinsically or specificatively; on 
a sign as substituting in the place of that object in 
the same order of objective cause, although not as 
the principal, but as its instrument or substitute, but 
not effectively. 

To the confirmation 26 the response is that a sign 
is called instrumental objectively, not effectively, that 
is, in place of (as vicar of) an object, as has been said. 
And it is well called a logical, not a physical, instru- 
ment, not because it works by means of an inten- 
tion of reason, but because it does not represent nor 
lead a cognitive power to a significate unless it is first 
known, and thus it signifies as something known. 
But that which belongs to a thing as known is said 
to belong logically, because Logic treats of things as 
known. But the truth is that this influence of a sign 
is not effective but objective, or in the capacity and 
place of an object signified in the same order and 
line, not in the order of an effective cause, as has 
been proved. And so this instrument is not reduced 
to a productive or efficient cause, nor is it an in- 
strument properly speaking, but metaphorically or 

tionem effective? Respondetur, quod est vice 
obiecti seu signati reddere obiectum prae- 
sens potentiae. Praesentia autem obiecti in 
actu primo vel secundo in potentia pendet 

5 a multis causis: a producente species vel 
applicante obiectum effective; a potentia 
generante notitiam, etiam effective; ab 
obiecto se praesentante formaliter extrin- 
sece seu specificative; a signo ut substitu- 

w ente vice illius in eodem genere causae 
obiectivae, licet non ut principale, sed ut 
instrumentum seu substitutum eius, sed 
non effective. 

Ad confirmationem 26 respondetur, 

is quod signum dicitur instrumentale obiec- 
tive, non effective, id est vice obiecti, ut 
dictum est. Et bene dicitur instrumentum 
logicum, non physicum, non quia medi- 
ante intentione rationis operetur, sed quia 

20 non repraesentat nee ducit potentiam ad 
significatum, nisi prius cognoscatur, et ita 
significat ut cognitum. Id autem, quod con- 
venit rei ut cognitae, dicitur logice conve- 
nire, quia Logica agit de rebus ut cognitis. 

25 Veritas autem est, quod influxus iste signi 
non est effectivus, sed obiectivus seu vice 
et loco obiecti significati in eodem ordine 
et linea, non in genere causae effectivae, 
ut probatum est. Et ita non reducitur hoc 

30 instrumentum ad causam efficientem, nee 
est instrumentum proprie, sed metaphorice 
aut logice. 

26 202/9-18. 



Whether the True Rationale of Sign 
Is Present in the Behavior of Brute Animals 
and in the Operation of the External Senses 


Utrum in Brutis et Sensibus Externis 
Sit Vera Ratio Signi 

It is certain that brute animals and external senses 
do not use signs through the comparison and collation 
that require discourse. But the difficulty is whether 
without discourse there can be, properly speaking, a use 
of signs for knowing signified things. The raising of this 5 
question leads most directly to a better understanding 
of the way in which a sign represents and signifies to 
a cognitive power. 

First conclusion: Brute animals, properly speaking, 
make use of signs, both of natural and of customary w 

This conclusion is taken from q. 24 of St. Thomas's 
Disputed Questions on Truth, art. 2, reply to obj. 7, 1 where 
he says that "from a memory of past beatings or kind- 
nesses it comes to pass that brute animals apprehend 25 
something as if it were friendly and to be sought, or hostile 
and to be fled." The observation can also be found in the 
Summa theologica, I-II, q. 40, art. 3. And concerning the use 
of natural signs, St. Thomas says in the Disputed Questions 
on Truth, q. 9, art. 4, reply to obj. 10, 2 that brute animals 20 
express their concepts by natural signs. He also speaks 
about the use of customary signs in his Commentary on the 
Metaphysics of Aristotle, Book I, reading I, 3 showing that 
some animals are capable of learning, that is, able to be- 
come accustomed through another's instruction regularly 25 

Certum est bruta et sensus externos 
non uti signis per comparationem et col- 
lationem, quae discursum exigit. SED DIF- 
FICULTAS est, an sine discursu detur pro- 
prie usus signorum ad cognoscendum res 
significatas. Quod utique conducit ad in- 
telligendum modum, quo signum reprae- 
sentat et significat potentiae. 

PRIMA CONCLUSIO: Bruta proprie uhm- 
tur signis, tam naturalibus quam ex con- 

Sumitur ex D. Thoma q. 24. de Veritate 
art. 2. ad 7., J ubi dicit, quod ex memoria 
praeteritorum flagellorum vel beneficio- 
rum contingit, ut bruta apprehendant ali- 
quid quasi amicum et prosequendum vel 
quasi inimicum et fugiendum. Et videri 
etiam potest 1. 2. q. 40. art. 3. Et de signis 
naturalibus dicit q. 9. de Veritate art. 4. 
ad 10., 2 quod bruta exprimunt suos con- 
ceptus signis naturalibus. Et de consue- 
tudine loquitur in 1. Metaph. lect. I. 3 
ostendens, quod aliqua animalia sunt dis- 
ciplinabilia, ut scilicet per alterius instruc- 
tionem possint assuescere ad aliquid faci- 

1 Pa IX. 354 b. 

2 ibid. 152 a. 

3 Pa XX. 249 a. 


[685b23-686al9] 205 

to do or to avoid doing something; therefore brute animals 
are able to employ customary signs, i.e., signs resulting from 
perceived patterns of behavior. 

There is a REASON FOR THIS first conclusion over and above 
the testimony of the daily experience wherein we see animals s 
moved by signs, on one occasion by natural signs, such as a 
groan or sigh, the bleating of sheep, the song of a bird, etc., 
on another occasion by associations learned in behavior or 
customary signs, a dog, for example, moved by custom when 
called by name, without, for all that, understanding the impo- 10 
sition, but being guided rather by a customary association. 4 
Over and above this testimony, I say, we observe that a brute 
animal, on seeing one thing, directs its course toward some 
other and quite distinct thing, as in the case where an animal 
on perceiving a scent bounds along some path, or on seeing is 
a low-hanging branch seeks to avoid it, or circumvents a timber 
lying across the road, or on hearing the roar of a lion trembles 
or flees, and six hundred other instances in which an animal 
does not respond within the limits of that which it perceives 
by exterior sense, but is led through sensation to something 20 
else. Which plainly is to use a sign, that is, to employ a 
representation of one thing not only for itself, but also for an- 
other distinct from itself. And that this employment and use 
is extended to signs arising from custom is also established 
from the above remarks, because, since some animals are 25 
capable of learning, they do not immediately perceive from 
the outset some things which they know afterwards when a 
custom has arisen, as a dog, for example, does not respond 
the first time he is called by such or such a name, and after- 
ward is moved when a custom has been established. Therefore 30 
some brute animals employ signs from custom; for they are 
not moved as a result of the imposition as such of the name, 
for that imposition itself, which depends on the will of the one 
stipulating it, a brute animal does not come to know. 5 

I say secondly: Not only do internal senses perceive 35 
signification and make use of signs, but so do the external 
senses, both in ourselves and in brute animals. 

And here we are speaking of instrumental signs; for what 
must be said about formal signs depends on what must be 

endum vel vitandum; possunt ergo 
bruta uti signis ex consuetudine. 

RATIO HUIUS praeter quotidianam ex- 
perientiam, qua videmus bruta moveri 
signis, rum naturalibus, ut gemitu, bala- 
tu, cantu etc., turn ex consuetudine, ut 
canis vocatus nomine consueto move- 
tur, qui tamen impositionem non intelli- 
git, sed consuetudine ducitur. 4 Praeter 
hoc, inquam, videmus brutum uno viso 
in aliud distinctum tendere sicut percep- 
to odore insequitur aliquam viam, vel 
fugit viso ramo vel ligno transverse in 
via divertit, audito rugitu leonis tremit 
aut fugit, et sexcenta alia, in quibus non 
sistit brutum in eo, quod sensu exteriori 
percipit, sed per illud in aliud ducitur. 
Quod plane est uti signo, scilicet reprae- 
sentatione unius non solum pro se, sed 
pro altero distincto a se. Et quod hoc 
etiam extendatur ad signa ex consuetu- 
dine, ex supra dictis constat, quia cum 
aliqua bruta sint disciplinae capacia, non 
statim a principle aliqua percipiunt, 
quae postea consuetudine procedente 
cognoscunt, ut canis non statim a prin- 
cipio movetur, cum vocatur tali vel tali 
nomine, et postea movetur habita con- 
suetudine. Ergo utuntur aliqua bruta 
signis ex consuetudine; nam ex imposi- 
tione ipsa nominis non moventur, quia 
non innotescit illis impositio ipsa, 5 quae 
ex voluntate imponentis dependet. 

Dico SECUNDO: Non solum sensus 
interni, sed etiam externi in nobis et in 
brutis percipiunt significationem et 
utuntur signis. 

Et loquimur de signo instrumental!; 
nam de signo formali pendet ex dicen- 

4 What it means to assert that animals do not perceive the imposition itself involved in cus- 
tomary signs fashioned by men can be gathered from the First Preamble, Article 3, esp. 66/47-71/19, 
in terms of the difference between mind-dependent beings formed and cognized "materially" 
and mind-dependent beings formed and cognized "formally": the former type of cognition suf- 
fices for customary signs as such, while the latter sort of cognition is required for the apprehension 
of stipulated elements at play as such within the network of customary associations. See 213/8-20 
below; see further my "Modern Logic, Animal Psychology, and Human Discourse," Revue de 
I'Universite d' Ottawa, 45 (janvier-mars, 1975), 80-100; "Toward the Origin of Semiotic," in Sight, 
Sound, and Sense, ed. T. A. Sebeok (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), pp. 1-30, esp. 
14 ff.; and "The Nonverbal Inlay in Linguistic Communication," in The Signifying Animal, ed. 
Irmengard Rauch and Gerald F. Carr (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980) pp. 201-217. 

5 See preceding note. Also J. Maritain, "Language and the Theory of Sign," in Language: An 
Enquiry into Its Meaning and Function, ed. R. N. Anshen (New York, 1957), pp. 86-101, esp. 90 ff . 

206 [686al9-b27] 


said in Book II as to whether specifying forms or acts 
of knowing are formal signs, and whether the exter- 
nal senses form some image or idol in the place of 
a concept. 

This second conclusion, therefore, is proved first 
FROM ST. THOMAS, who teaches that a thing signified 
through a sign is seen in the very sign, as is clear in 
the Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 8, art. 5: 6 "We 
know," he says, "Socrates through seeing in two 
ways, both according as seeing is assimilated to 
Socrates, and according as it is assimilated to an im- 
age of Socrates, and either of these assimilations suf- 
fices for knowing Socrates." And further on in the 
same article: "When external sight sees Hercules in 
his statue, the cognition does not come about through 
some other similitude of the statue." 7 This teaching 
can also be found in the Summa contra gentiles, Book 
III, chap. 49. Since therefore an image and a statue 
represent their significates to a cognitive power in the 
mode of a sign, if external vision attains in a statue 
and an image not only the statue, but also that which 
the image represents, it cognizes one less known 
thing through another thing more known, which is 
to use signs. 

THE CONCLUSION is PROVED secondly: There is 
no reason to deny that external sense is led from 
one thing to another without discourse and collation. 
But for using a sign and signification, nothing more 
is required, nor is discourse necessary. Therefore 
the use of signs can be attributed to the external 

The major premise is proved by the fact that ex- 
ternal sense can discriminate between one object of 
its knowability and another for example, sight can 
discriminate between the color white and the color 
green, between one carved image which represents, 
say, Christ, and another which represents his mother; 
it can also attain through a proper sensible such as 
color, a common sensible such as movement or a pro- 
file, and discriminate between the one and the other. 
Therefore external sense can in one thing know 
another or be led to another, because for this it suf- 
fices that external sense should know how to dis- 
criminate between the one thing and the other, and 
to know the other thing as it is contained in the first 
or as it pertains to it. But this suffices for external sense 
to be led from one thing to another, because if it 
discriminates between one thing and another and 

dis seq. disp., an species vel actus cogno- 
scendi sint signa formalia, et utrum sen- 
sus externi forment aliquam imaginem vel 
idolum loco conceptus. 

5 PROBATUR ergo conclusio primo ex 
D . T h o m a , qui rem signif icatam per sig- 
num docet videri in ipso signo, ut patet 
q. 8. de Veritate art. 5.: 6 Cognoscimus, 
inquit, Socratem per visum dupliciter, et 

10 in quantum visus assimilatur Socrati, et 
in quantum assimilatur imagini Socratis, 
et utraque istarum assimilationum sufficit 
ad cognoscendum Socratem. Et infra: 
Cum visus exterior videt Herculem in 

is statua sua, non fit cognitio per aliquam 
aliam similitudinem statuae. 7 Videatur 
etiam in 3. Contra Gent. cap. 49. Cum 
ergo imago et statua repraesentent poten- 
tiae sua significata per modum signi, si 

20 visus exterior in statua et imagine non 
solum statuam attingit, sed etiam id, quod 
repraesentat imago, cognoscit unum mi- 
nus notum per aliud notius, quod est uti 

25 Secundo probatur conclusio: 
Nam non est ulla ratio, cur negetur sen- 
sui exteriori, quod deducatur de uno ad 
aliud sine discursu et collatione. Ad uten- 
dum autem signo et signification non 

30 requiritur aliquid amplius nee necessarius 
est discursus. Ergo usus signi exterioribus 
sensibus attribui potest. 

Maior probatur, quia sensus externus 
potest discernere inter unum obiectum et 

35 aliud suae cognoscibilitatis, v. g. visus in- 
ter colorem album et viridem, inter ima- 
ginem unam et aliam, v. g. quae reprae- 
sentat Christum vel B. Virginem; potest 
etiam per proprium sensibile, v. g. colo- 

40 rem, attingere sensibile commune, v. g. 
motum aut figuram, et discernere inter 
unum et aliud. Ergo potest in uno cogno- 
scere aliud seu deduci ad aliud, quia ad 
hoc sufficit, ut sciat discernere inter unum 

45 et aliud, et cognoscere unum, ut contine- 
tur in alio vel ut pertinet ad illud. Hoc 
autem sufficit, ut deducatur de uno ad 
aliud, quia si discernit inter unum et aliud 

6 Pa IX. 122 a. 

7 ibid. 


[686b27-687a39] 207 

knows the one as contained in another (for exam- 
ple, a profile as it affects or is affected by color, an 
image as being in a mirror, Hercules in a statue, a 
green as distinguished from a white thing), nothing 
more is required in order that it should know another 
through one thing and be led from the one to the 

The minor premise, however, is proved from the 
fact that a sign calls for nothing in its definition except 
that it should represent something other than itself and 
should be a means leading to the other. But that this 
should come about through discourse or by compar- 
ing and knowing the relation of the one thing to the 
other, the sign does not call for; otherwise, signs could 
not be found in the internal senses in animals. 8 And 
if formal discourse were required, a pure spirit would 
not make use of signs, which is false. 

Nevertheless, it should be observed that external 
sense cannot know the significate apart from the sign 
and in itself. For a significate is very often absent in 
this manner, and if it were present and cognized 
through a sign as something distinct from that sign, 
this would require a comparison of the one to the other, 
otherwise how will it be established that this taken 
distinctly and separately from that is the significate of 
that? External sense therefore knows a significate as 
contained in a sign and pertaining to that sign, and, 
as St. Thomas says, knows Hercules in a statue. Nor 
is more required for a sign; for a sign represents no 
more concerning its significate than that it is contained 
in the sign, and so it is not necessary to know the sign 
by a fuller and more perfect cognition, by connecting 
and comparing the signified with the sign as mutual- 
ly distinct things and by reason of the relation of the 
one to the other. Nevertheless the significate itself thus 
contained in the sign is known, just as it is known that 
this is an image of a man and not of a horse, that that 
is an image of Peter and not of Paul; which could not 
be the case if the significate were not known at all. 

But you might object: A significate must be 
known as distinct from a sign. For if it is known as one 
with the sign, external sense does not reach to a cogni- 
tion of another from the sign, which is required for the 
rationale of signification. But through sight a thing signi- 
fied is not seen as distinct from the sign; for example, 
when an image of Peter the Apostle is seen, the his- 
torical Peter, who is absent, is not attained through the 
seeing, and that historical person as absent is the thing 
signified; for whatever is present to the seeing is nothing 

et cognoscit unum, ut continetur in alio, si- 
cut figuram, ut afficit vel afficitur colore, 
imaginem ut in speculo, Herculem in sta- 
tua, viride ut discernitur ab albo, nihil 

5 amplius requiritur, ut per unum cognoscat 
aliud et deducatur de uno ad aliud. 

Minor vero constat, quia signum nihil 
aliud petit in sua definitione, nisi ut re- 
praesentet aliud a se et sit medium ducens 

w ad aliud. Quod vero fiat per discursum aut 
comparando et cognoscendo habitudinem 
unius ad aliud, non petit; alias neque in 
sensibus internis in brutis posset inveniri. 8 
Et si requireretur discursus formalis, neque 

15 angelus signis uteretur, quod est falsum. 

Est tamen observandum, quod sensus 

exterior non potest cognoscere signatum 

seorsum a signo et secundum se. Sic enim 

plerumque est absens, et si praesens sit et 

20 cognoscatur per signum ut ab ipso distinc- 
tum, requiret comparationem unius ad 
aliud, alias quomodo ei constabit, quod hoc 
distincte et seorsum sumptum ab illo est 
signatum illius? Cognoscit ergo signatum 

25 ut contentum in signo et ad ipsum perti- 
nens, et, ut dicit D. Thomas, Herculem 
cognoscit in statua. Nee amplius requiritur 
ad signum; nee enim repraesentat signum 
de suo signato amplius, quam quod in illo 

so continetur, et sic non est necesse illud 
cognoscere ampliori et perfection cognitio- 
ne, conferendo et comparando signatum 
cum signo ut distincta inter se et ratione 
habitudinis unius ad aliud. Cognoscitur 

35 tamen ipsum signatum sic in signo conten- 
tum, sicut cognoscitur, quod haec est i- 
mago hominis et non equi, ilia Petri et non 
Pauli; quod esse non posset, si signatum 
omnino ignoraretur. 

40 SED OB ic IE s: Signatum debet cognosci 
ut distinctum a signo. Si enim cognoscitur 
ut idem cum signo, non devenitur in cog- 
nitionem alterius a signo, quod requiritur 
ad rationem significationis. Sed per visum 

45 non videtur signatum distinctum a signo, 
v. g. quando videtur imago D. Petri, non 
attingitur per visum D. Petrus, qui est 
absens, et ille ut absens est signatum; quid- 
quid enim est praesens visui, non est nisi 

8 See the First Preamble, Article 3, 73/17-74/4 and 74/39-46. 

208 [687a39-b42] 


but the sign and image. Therefore the significate is 
not attained as distinct from the sign, and so the ex- 
ternal sense does not reach from the sign to the signif- 
icate, but the entire external cognition is absorbed in 
the sign. 

Some are persuaded by this argument to assert 
that external sense makes use of a sign only when 
the significate is also present to it, not when the sig- 
nificate is absent. 9 But two considerations stand in 
the way of this solution. 

The first is the fact, cited by St. Thomas, that one 
who sees a statue of Hercules sees Hercules in the 
statue; and in chap. 49, n. 3, of Book III of the Sum- 
ma contra gentiles, he says that a man is seen in a mir- 
ror through his reflected similitude. Decidedly, how- 
ever, a man whose reflected image is in a mirror can 
be in back of the one seeing the reflection and not 
present to him. 

The second consideration is the fact that if both 
sign and signified are presented to sense, sense is 
not led to the significate which is separate as a re- 
sult of the sign, but sees the significate through its 
proper specifiers as it is present for itself and as it 
presents itself to sight. Therefore the significate is 
not then seen through an instrumental sign, nor is 
the eye led from the sign to the signified, but both 
sign and significate are manifested from themselves, 
unless perchance by comparing the sign to the sig- 
nificate it should be seen that this is a sign of that. 
But this requires an act of comparison knowing a rela- 
tion under the concept and formality of respecting, 
and comparatively to the term, which never belongs 
to external sense. 

Wherefore we respond simply that sense cog- 
nizes the significate in a sign in the way in which 
that significate is present in the sign, but not only in 
the way in which it is the same as the sign. For ex- 
ample, when a proper sensible such as a color is 
seen, and a common sensible, such as a profile and 
movement, the profile is not seen as the same as the 
color, but as conjoined to the color, and rendered 
visible through that color, nor is the color seen sep- 
arately and the profile separately; so when a sign is 
seen and a significate is rendered present in it, the 
significate is attained there as conjoined to the sign 
and contained in it, not as existing separately and as 

signum et imago. Ergo non attingitur 
signatum ut distinctum a signo, et sic 
non devenitur a signo in signatum, sed 
tota cognitio externa consumitur in sig- 

5 no. 

Hoc argumento aliqui convincuntur ad 
asserendum, quod tune solum sensus ex- 
ternus utitur signo, cum signatum est 
etiam ei praesens, non quando est ab- 

w sens . 9 Sedobstant huic solutioni duo : 

Primum, quia D. Thomas fatetur, quod 

qui videt statuam Herculis, videt Her- 

culem in statua, et 3. Contra Gent. cap. 

49. dicit, quod homo videtur in speculo 

is per suam similitudinem. Constat autem, 
quod homo, cuius similitudo est in spe- 
culo, potest esse retro videntem et non ei 

Secundum est, quia si utrumque, scilicet 

20 signum et signatum, praesentatur sensui, 
non manuducitur ex signo ad signatum, 
quod est seorsum, sed signatum videt per 
species proprias, ut sibi praesens est et ut 
se praesentat visui. Ergo tune non videtur 

25 signatum per signum nee manuducitur 
oculus ex signo ad signatum, sed utrum- 
que seipso manifestatur, nisi forte com- 
parando signum ad signatum videatur 
hoc esse signum illius. Sed hoc exigit ac- 

30 turn comparantem et cognoscentem rela- 

tionem sub conceptu et formalitate respi- 

ciendi et comparative ad terminum, quod 

utique sensui exteriori non convenit. 

Quare simpliciter respondemus, 

35 quod sensus cognoscit signatum in signo 
eo modo, quo in signo praesens est, sed 
non eo solum modo, quo cum signo idem 
est. Sicut cum videtur sensibile proprium, 
v. g. color, et sensibile commune, ut 

40 figura et motus, non videtur figura ut 
idem cum colore, sed ut coniuncta colori, 
et per ilium visibilis reddita, nee videtur 
seorsum color et seorsum figura; sic cum 
videtur signum et in eo praesens redditur 

45 signatum, ibi signatum attingitur ut con- 
iunctum signo et contentum in eo, non ut 
seorsum se habens et ut absens. 

9 See Book III, Questions 1 and 2, esp. Question 2, 305/34-312/6, for grasping what 
is at stake for Poinsot in the distinction between the presence and absence of objects to 


[687b43-688a44] 209 

And if it is insisted: What is that in the sig- 
nificate conjoined to the sign and present in the sign 
besides the sign itself and its entitative being? The 
response is that it is the very thing signified itself in 
another existence, just as a thing represented through 5 
a specifying form is the very object itself in intentional, 
not physical, being. And so, just as one who grasps 
a concept grasps that which is contained in the con- 
cept as represented in it, and not merely that which 
exists as representing, 10 so one who sees an external w 
image sees not only the office or rationale of repre- 
senting, but also the thing represented as being in that 
image. 11 But by this very fact, that one also sees the 
thing represented as being in the image, one sees 
something distinct from the image, because an im- is 
age as image is something representing, but it is not 
the thing represented; one nevertheless sees that 
represented thing as contained and present in the im- 
age, not separately and as absent, and in a word, one 
sees it as distinct from the image, [but] not as separate 20 
and apart from the image. 

From the foregoing remarks it can be gathered 
that a univocal rationale of signs obtains in the 
case of brute animals and in the case of rational 
animals, because the rationale of a sign does not 25 
depend on the way in which a cognitive power 
uses it (by discoursing or comparing, or by a simple 
way of attaining), but on the way in which the sign 
represents, that is, renders something other than itself 
present objectively, which is the same whether the 30 
power knows in a simple manner or in a discursive 


It is argued first from the written sources. 35 
For St. Thomas says, in his Summa theologica, 
II-II, q. 110, art. 1, that "every representation con- 
sists in a certain collation, which properly pertains 
to reason; whence, although brute animals manifest 
something, yet they do not intend the manifestation/' 40 
Animals do not, therefore, properly use signs and 
representation, except quite materially and remote- 
ly, inasmuch as they do something from which a 
manifestation follows, which even inanimate things 
can do. 45 

Et si instetur: Quid est illud in 
signato coniunctum signo et praesens in 
signo praeter ipsum signum et entitatem 
eius? Respondetur esse ipsummet signatum 
in alio esse, sicut res repraesentata per 
speciem est ipsummet obiectum in esse 
intentionali, non reali. Et sic, sicut qui 
videret conceptum, videret id, quod in 
conceptu continetur ut repraesentatum in 
eo, et non solum id, quod se habet ut 
repraesentans, 10 sic qui videt imaginem 
externam, videt non solum munus seu ra- 
tionem repraesentantis, sed etiam reprae- 
sentatum prout in ea. 11 Sed hoc ipso, 
quod videt repraesentatum etiam prout in 
imagine, videt aliquid distinctum ab ima- 
gine, quia imago ut imago repraesentans 
est, non vero repraesentatum; illud tamen 
videt ut contentum et praesens in ima- 
gine, non seorsum et ut absens, et unico 
verbo videt ut distinctum ab imagine, non 
ut separatum et seorsum. 

Ex DICTIS AUTEM coLLiciTUR in brutis 
et in nobis reperiri rationem signi univo- 
cam, quia ratio signi non pendet ex modo, 
quo potentia utitur illo discurrendo vel 
comparando aut simplici modo attingen- 
do, sed ex modo, quo signum reprae- 
sentat, id est reddit praesens aliud a se 
obiective, quod eodem modo facit, sive 
potentia simplici modo cognoscat sive dis- 


Primo arguitur ex auctoritatibus. Nam 
D. Thomas 2. 2. q. 110. art. 1. inquit, 
quod omnis repraesentatio consistit in 
quadam collatione, quae proprie pertinet 
ad rationem, unde etsi bruta aliquid 
manifestant, sed non intendunt manif es- 
tationem. Non ergo bruta proprie utun- 
tur signis et repraesentatione, nisi valde 
materialiter et remote, quatenus aliquid 
faciunt, unde manifestatio sequitur, quod 
etiam facere possunt res inanimatae. 

10 See Book II, Question 1, 231/46-232/4, and the discussion beginning at 227/1. 

11 See below, 211/29-212/18, and 212/35-213/7. See also, however, Book II, Question 1, 
232/32-233/3, for the profound difference between seeing an object "in" an internal versus an 
external image; also 224/11-19, 224/29-34, and 250/19-39. (Related discussion in Question 4 above, 
note 33, p. 187.) 

210 [688a45-689al] 


Likewise, in the Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 
9, art. 4, reply to obj. 4, 12 he says that, properly speaking, 
something cannot be called a sign unless it is something 
from which a cognition of something else is arrived at as 
if by discursive reasoning; and on this account he denies 
signs properly so called to the pure spirits. Therefore signs 
in the proper sense of the word must with equal reason 
be denied to brute animals, because they do not use 

The response to this is that, in the first passage, 13 St. 
Thomas is speaking only of manifestation and rep- 
resentation in the rational mode, not about representation 
made in a natural mode, concerning which see Cajetan's 
Commentary on this passage. Whence St. Thomas goes 
on to say that "brute animals do not intend the manifesta- 
tion, even though they do manifest something." He is 
therefore of the opinion that they do signify something, 
even though they do not deliberately intend the significa- 
tion, and so such signification as is deliberately intended 
calls for collation and discourse, not signification absolute- 
ly. Nor are animals said to use signs only because they do 
something from which signification follows, but because 
they exercise signification and perceive a signif icate, which 
inanimate things do not do. 

As regards the second citation 14 the response is that a 
sign is said to be found properly in discursive knowledge, 
when speaking of the property of the perfection of signi- 
fying, not of the property which would preserve the bare 
essence of a sign absolutely. 15 To be sure, the rationale of 
sign is discerned in discursive cognition more expressly 
and distinctly than in simple cognition, although it is also 
found in simple cognition, as St. Thomas teaches in other 
places. And the pure spirits also use signs, because they 
have discourse eminentially, even though discourse ap- 
pears more formally in us. 

It is argued secondly: knowledge of a sign 
and of its significance is required for the use of the 
sign, and likewise a knowledge of sign and signified is 
required, ordered in such a way that the one know- 
ledge is coordinated to the other and inferred from it: 
otherwise the definition of an instrumental sign, that 
it represents something else from a preexistent know- 
ledge of itself, is not preserved. But these two re- 
quirements are not preserved without some collative and 
discursive knowledge. For the signification of something 
cannot be perceived, unless an order or accord rela- 

Item in q. 9. de Veritate art. 4. ad. 
4. 12 dicit, quod proprie loquendo signum 
non potest dici nisi aliquid, ex quo de- 
veniatur in cognitionem alterius quasi dis- 

5 currendo, et ob id negat huiusmodi signa 
angelis. Ergo pari ratione negari debent 
brutis, quia discursu non utuntur. 

RESPONDETUR, quod in primo loco 13 
solum loquitur D. Thomas de manifesta- 

w tione et repraesentatione modo rationali, 
non modo naturali facta, de quo vide ibid. 
Caietanum. Unde subdit D. Thomas, 
quod bruta non intendunt manifestatio- 
nem, licet aliquid manifestent. Ergo sen- 
is tit, quod aliquid significent, licet signi- 
ficationem non intendant, et sic talis 
significatio ut intenta collationem petit et 
discursum, non significatio absolute. Nee 
solum dicuntur significare, quia aliquid 

20 faciunt, unde significatio sequitur, sed 
quia significationem exercent et signatum 
percipiunt, quod non faciunt res inani- 

Ad secundumlocu m 14 responde- 

25 tur, quod dicitur signum proprie reperiri 
in cognitione discursiva, loquendo de pro- 
prietate perfectionis significandi, non de 
proprietate, quae salvet essentiam signi 
absolute. 15 Expressius quippe et distincti- 

30 us cernitur ratio signi in discursiva cogni- 
tione quam in simplici, licet in hac etiam 
inveniatur, ut aliis locis. S. Thomas docet. 
Et angeli etiam utuntur signis, quia emi- 
nentialiter habent discursum, licet in no- 

35 bis formalius id appareat. 

Secundo arguitur: Ad usum signi re- 
quiritur cognitio signi et significationis 
eius, itemque requiritur cognitio signi et 
signati ordinata ita, quod una cognitio 

40 coordinetur alteri et deducatur ex ilia, alias 
non salvatur definitio, quod ex praeexis- 
tenti cognitione sui aliquid aliud reprae- 
sentat. Sed ista duo non salvantur sine 
aliqua cognitione collativa et discursiva. 

45 Nam significatio alicuius percipi non po- 
test, nisi percipiatur ordo seu convenien- 

12 Pa IX. 151 b. 

13 209/35-45. 

14 210/1-9. 

15 See 211/29-39 below; and Book II, Question 1, 226/17-34, 227/1-8. 


[689al-b8] 211 

tive to another is perceived; but to know order is to know 
a relation and comparison, which the [internal] sense of 
a brute animal is by no means able to do, much less exter- 
nal sense [whether in brute or in rational animals]. Simi- 
larly, if one act of knowledge is coordinated to another and 5 
drawn from it in such a way that from the one knowledge 
the other is arrived at, this is to discourse and to know col- 
latively, which is in no way suited to the senses of brute 

This is confirmed by the fact that when some ob- w 
ject in which another object is contained is represented or 
apprehended, that simple apprehension rests solely on the 
object proposed in an immediate and simple way, other- 
wise it would not be a simple cognition, if it moved itself 
by passing from one object to another. Therefore use of is 
an instrumental sign requires a power knowing collative- 
ly and comparatively and by more than a simple tenden- 
cy; but all the senses in brute animals know in a simple 
manner and not collatively. 

And our own experience itself supports the 20 
proposition that when we perceive a sign and not its 
significative force, a collation of the sign with its signifi- 
cate is necessary if we are to elicit from the sign a know- 
ledge of the significate. Therefore, since in brute animals 
there is no collative power, they cannot perceive the force 25 
of a sign naturally unknown to them, and so animals 
do not advance from custom to understanding of a sig- 

The response to this 16 is that a double knowledge is not 
required for the use of a sign, nor is it required that from 30 
one act of knowledge another act of knowledge should be 
reached, but it suffices that from one known object another 
known object should be reached. But through one known 
object to attain another known object is one thing, by one 
act of knowledge to cause another act of knowledge is quite 35 
something else again. For the rationale of signification it 
suffices to reach from one known object to another, but 
it is not necessary to pass from one act of knowledge to 
another. 17 Whence the Philosopher says, in his book On 
Memory and Reminiscence, 19 that a movement toward an im- 40 
age is the same as a movement toward the thing whose 
image it is, which statement St. Thomas, both in his Com- 
mentary on this passage (reading 3) 19 and in his Summa 
theologica, III, q. 25, art. 3, explains as referring to move- 
ment relative to the image, not as it is a kind of thing, but 45 
as image, i.e., as it exercises the office of representing 

tia ad alterum; cognoscere autem ordinem 
est cognoscere relationem et comparatio- 
nem, quod utique sensus bruti cognoscere 
non potest, et multo minus sensus exter- 
nus. Similiter si una cognitio coordinatur 
alteri et ex ilia desumitur, ita quod de- 
veniat ex uno ad aliud, hoc est discurrere 
et collative cognoscere, quod nullo modo 
sensibus brutorum convenit. 

Confirmatur, quia quando reprae- 
sentatur vel apprehenditur aliquod obiec- 
tum, in quo aliud continetur, ilia simplex 
apprehensio solum sistit in obiecto imme- 
diato et simplici modo proposito, alioquin 
simplex cognitio non esset, si de uno ob- 
iecto ad aliud transiret et se moveret. Ergo 
requirit potentiam cognoscentem collative 
et comparative et plus quam simplici ten- 
dentia; omnes autem sensus in brutis sim- 
plici modo cognoscunt et non collative. 

Et suffragatur ipsa experientia in nobis, 
quod quando percipimus signum et non 
vim significativam eius, necessaria est col- 
latio signi ad signatum, ut ex signo elicia- 
mus cognitionem signati. Ergo cum in 
brutis collativa vis non sit, non poterunt 
percipere vim signi naturaliter sibi ignoti, 
et sic non precedent ex consuetudine ad 
intelligendum signatum. 

RESPONDETUR 16 ad usum signi non re- 
quiri duplicem cognitionem, nee quod ex 
una cognitione deveniatur in aliam, sed 
sufficit, quod ex uno cognito ad aliud 
cognitum devetiiatur. Aliud autem est per 
unum cognitum attingere alterum, aliud 
ex una cognitione causare alteram. Ad ra- 
tionem significations sufficit, quod de 
uno cognito deveniatur ad aliud, sed non 
est necesse, quod de una cognitione ad 
aliam. 17 Unde dicit Philosophus in libro 
de Memoria et Reminiscentia, 18 quod i- 
dem est motus in imaginem, et in rem, 
cuius est imago, quod D. Thomas ibi lect. 
3. 19 et 3. p. q. 25. art. 3. explicat de motu 
in imaginem, non ut res quaedam est, sed 
ut imago, i. e. ut exercet officium reprae- 

16 210/36-211/19. 

17 Cf. Book II, Question 1, 226/17-34; see also 210/25-35 above, and 212/35-213/7 below. 

18 c. 1. (450 b 20). 

19 Pa XX. 204 a. 

212 [689b8-690al2] 


and leading to another. "For it is in this sense," says 
St. Thomas, "that movement toward an image is one 
and the same as movement toward the thing [im- 
aged]." Cajetan affords the best interpretation of 
this in his Commentary on the Summa, when he gives 
us to understand that the remarks in question bear on 
an image considered as image or in the office of a 
representation, not considered as it is a kind of thing 
in itself, as if signified in act. And that, from the stand- 
point of apprehensive movement or knowing, move- 
ment toward image and movement toward thing im- 
aged are the same movement, as Cajetan there notes, 
is the common consensus of all, because in the 
knowledge of one relative falls the correlative. And 
so discourse is not necessary, but a simple act of 
knowledge suffices, in order that when an image or 
a sign is seen, the thing itself which is contained in 
the sign and is signified, be attained. 

And to that which is said concerning the know- 
ledge of signification, 20 that it is to know some rela- 
tion and order, the response is that it is not necessary 
to posit in the brute animals a knowledge of relation 
formally and comparatively; but it is necessary to posit 
that animals know its exercise, which founds a rela- 
tion without comparison and collation, 21 the way an 
animal knows a distant thing in relation to which it 
moves, recalls a thing of the past, and has an expec- 
tation of future prey, as St. Thomas explains in the 
Summa theologica, I-II, q. 40, art. 3, without knowing 
the relation of future or past or distance, but the 
animal knows in exercise that which is distant or 
future or representing, whereon is founded the rela- 
tion which the animal does not know formally and 
comparatively . 22 

To the confirmation 23 the response is that in a 
simple act of knowledge which does not become 
discourse or collation, not only can the object which 
is immediately proposed or apposed to sense be 
attained, but also that which is contained in that ob- 
ject; just as, for example, external vision sees Her- 
cules in a statue, and just as a specifier [a sense 
impression] representing a colored thing also rep- 
resents the profile and movement and other com- 
mon sensibles there contained and adjoined, yet 
does not on this account pass beyond simple know- 









sentandi et ducendi ad aliud. Sic enim 
est unus et idem motus in imaginem cum 
illo, qui est in rem, inquit S. Thomas. 
Quod optime Caietanus ibi intelligit de 
imagine considerata in exercitio imaginis 
seu officio repraesentationis, non ut res 
quaedam est in se, quasi in actu signato. 
Et quod idem sit motus in imaginem et 
in rem, cuius est imago, ex parte motus 
apprehensivi seu cognitionis, ut Caieta- 
nus ibi advertit, communis est omnium 
consensus, cum in cognitione unius rela- 
tivi cadat correlativum. Et sic non est ne- 
cessarius discursus, sed simplex cognitio 
sufficit, ut visa imagine seu signo res ip- 
sa, quae in signo continetur et significa- 
tur, attingatur. 

Et ad id, quod dicitur de cognitione 
significationis, 20 quod est cognoscere rela- 
tionem aliquam et ordinem, respondetur, 
quod non est necesse in brutis ponere 
cognitionem relationis formaliter et 
comparative; sed exercitium eius, quod 
fundat relationem sine comparatione et 
collatione cognoscunt, 21 sicut brutum cog- 
noscit rem distantem, ad quam se movet, 
et recordatur rei praeteritae et habet spem 
praedae futurae, ut docet S. Thomas 1. 2. 
q. 40. art. 3., sine hoc, quod relationem 
futuri aut praeteriti vel distantiae cognos- 
cat, sed cognoscit in exercitio id, quod est 
distans aut futurum aut repraesentans, 
ubi fundatur relatio, quam formaliter et 
comparative non cognoscit. 22 

Ad confirmationem 23 responde- 
tur, quod in cognitione simplici sine hoc, 
quod transeat ad discursum vel collatio- 
nem, potest attingi non solum obiectum, 
quod immediate proponitur seu apponi- 
tur sensui, sed quod in eo continetur; 
sicut videt visus externus Herculem in 
statua et species repraesentans coloratum 
etiam repraesentat figuram et motum alia- 
que sensibilia communia ibi contenta et 
adiuncta, nee tamen ob hoc desinit esse 

20 210/45-211/4. 

21 See the First Preamble, Article 3, 66/47-76/45, esp. 67/1-19, 69/41-70/2, 73/16-74/9, 74/39-46, 
for the correct reading of this passage. 

22 See note 4 above. Here again it is a question of mind-dependent objects formed and cog- 
nized "materially" only: see the references in notes 4 and 21 above. 

23 211/10-19. 


[690al2-blO] 213 

ledge, even though the thing known is not simple, but 
plural: 24 otherwise, we would not be able to see a 
plurality of objects by a simple vision. But if we are able 
to see many objects in a single vision, why not also an 
ordered plurality and one thing through another, and 
consequently a significate through a sign and as con- 
tained in the sign? 25 

And with respect to our experience of apprehending 
a sign without apprehending its significative force, 26 it 
is said that, in the case of signs whose signification we 
do not know from the outset, we ourselves, no less than 
brutes, have need of custom. But we accustom ourselves 
through reason and discourse, whereas animals accus- 
tom themselves inasmuch as their memory is fortified by 
some ordered pluralities heard or known, as, for exam- 
ple, a given name, especially if they are thence affected 
by some benefit or injury, whence they remember it as 
something to flee or to seek. And so memory suffices to 
accustom, and animals which do not have memory do 
not develop customs. See St. Thomas's Commentary on the 
Metaphysics of Aristotle, Book I, reading I, 27 and q. 24 of 
his Disputed Questions on Truth, art. 2, reply to obj. 7. 28 

It is argued finally: A sheep, say, on hearing 
a roar, apprehends the lion only as something harmful, 
but not as represented by virtue of the roar; therefore, 
the sheep does not use the roar as a sign. 

The consequence is clear from the fact that one 
cannot use any sign except for that which is represented 
by virtue of the particular sign. Therefore, if that which 
one apprehends is represented not by virture of a partic- 
ular sign, but by virtue of something else, one does not 
employ that sign as a sign formally speaking. The ante- 
cedent is proved by the fact that a sheep apprehends a 
lion as something harmful by a natural instinct, therefore 
not from a pre-existing cognition. For that which is 
known by natural instinct is not attained as a result of 
pre-existing knowledge; and so the sheep does not appre- 
hend the lion as harmful through a sign. But the sheep 
does not apprehend the lion other than as something 








simplex cognitio, licet cognitum non sit 
simplex, sed plura, 24 alioquin non pos- 
semus simplici visione plura obiecta vi- 
dere. Quodsi possumus, cur non etiam 
ordinata et unum per aliud, et conse- 
quenter signatum per signum et ut con- 
tentum in signo? 25 

Et ad experientiam illam 26 dicitur, quod 
in signis, quorum significationem a prin- 
cipio non cognoscimus, tarn nos quam 
bruta opus habemus consuetudine. Sed 
nos assuescimus cum ratione et discursu, 
ilia vero, in quantum eorum memoria 
roboratur aliquo pluries audito aut cog- 
nito, v. g. tali nomine, praesertim si inde 
afficiuntur aliquo beneficio vel nocumen- 
to, unde recordentur ad fugiendum vel 
prosequendum. Et sic memoria sufficit ad 
assuetudinem, et bruta, quae non habent 
memoriam, non assuescunt. Vide D. 
Thomam 1. Metaph. lect. I. 27 et q. 24. de 
Veritate art. 2. ad 7. 28 

Ultimo arguitur: Nam ovis v. g. audito 
rugitu non apprehendit leonem, nisi ut 
nocivum, non vero ut repraesentatur ex 
vi rugitus, ergo non utitur rugitu ut signo. 

Consequentia patet, quia non potest uti 
aliquo signo nisi ad id, quod ex vi talis 
signi repraesentatur. Ergo si id, quod 
apprehendit, non ex vi talis signi reprae- 
sentatur, sed aliunde, non utitur illo ut 
signo formaliter loquendo. Antecedens vero 
probatur, quia ovis naturali instinctu ap- 
prehendit leonem ut nocivum, ergo non 
ex praeexistente cognitione. Quod enim 
naturali instinctu cognoscitur, non ex 
praeexistente cognitione attingitur; et sic 
leonem ut nocivum non per signum at- 
tingit. Alio autem modo non attingit, 
quam in quantum nocivum. 

24 See 210/25-35, 211/29-212/18, above; and Book II, Question 1, 226/17-34, below. 

25 Here is the solution to the British empiricists' problem of how to overcome the discrete 
character of proper sensibles ("sense data") without making all such elaboration of objects a 
purely mind-dependent construction. In the way indicated by Poinsot, therefore, semiotic pro- 
vides the solution to the problem of correctly distinguishing within perception the nature and 
function of a "sensory core." See my "The Doctrine of Signs: Taking Form at Last," Semiotica, 
18:2 (1976), esp. note 11, pp. 187-188; and "The Nonverbal Inlay in Linguistic Communication," 
in The Signifying Animal, ed. Rauch and Carr (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), esp. 
pp. 203-205. See also Book III, Question 1, 292/11-30, Question 2, esp. notes 8 and 9. 

26 211/20-39. 

27 Pa XX. 249 a. 

28 Pa IX. 354 b. 

214 [690bll-691al6] 


This is confirmed, because a sign is essentially a 
means or medium leading to the cognition of something 
signified. But means differ in consequence of diverse or- 
ders to an end, and therefore signs too differ on this 
basis. But signs are not ordered to a signified in a univ- 
ocal way in rational animals and brute animals, because 
brute animals are not borne toward a signified thing by 
knowing the order and relation of the sign to that thing 
in the same way that men are. 29 Therefore, "to signify" 
in the case of rational and in the case of brute animals is 
not said univocally, as neither is "to know" or "to be 

The response to this final argument 30 is that a sheep, 
when it hears a lion's roar, apprehends the lion as 
something harmful and as harmful in a specific way, for 
the sheep flees and fears the roar more because it comes 
from a lion that if it were the howl of a wolf. Whence the 
sheep discriminates between the one and the other, which 
would not be the case if it were not led by means of those 
signs to a lion and to a wolf as different from one another, 
and harmful in different ways. The fact that the sheep 
forms the judgment about the lion and the wolf as things 
to be fled by a natural instinct, does not remove the fact 
that the sheep does this from a pre-existing knowledge. 
For some knowledge in external sense must necessarily 
precede, either a cognition that sees the lion or one that 
hears his roar, in order for the estimative sense to appre- 
hend and adjudge the lion as an enemy. For brute animals 
have judgment, but without indifference, and therefore 
determined to one thing and based on natural instinct, 
which instinct does not exclude cognition and judgment, 
but [only liberty of] indifference. Concerning this point St. 
Thomas's remarks in the Summa theologica, I, q. 83, art. 
1, and in his Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 24, art. 2 31 
can be looked at. 

To the confirmation 32 the response is that a sign and 
an act of signifying are taken univocally through the order 
to the signified as something manifestable to a cognitive 
power. The fact that this comes about in such or such a 
way according as the power makes use of the sign does 
not render the rationale of the sign analogous or equivocal 
in the order of manifesting, but renders the modes of the 
cognitive power different in the cognition and use of the 
sign. Nor is there a parallel between knowing rationally 
and representing, because "to know rationally" formally 
bespeaks a cognition according to understanding and con- 

Confirmatur, quia signum essen- 
tialiter est medium ductivum ad cognitio- 
nem signati. Sed media differunt ex diver- 
se ordine ad finem, ergo et signa. Sed in 

5 hominibus et in brutis signa non univoco 
modo ordinantur ad signatum, cum bruta 
non ferantur ad signatum cognoscendo 
ordinem et relationem signi ad illud sicut 
homines. 29 Ergo significare in illis et in 

20 brutis non dicitur univoce, sicut nee scire 
aut disciplinari. 

RESPONDETUR, 30 quod ovis audito rugi- 
tu apprehendit leonem ut nocivum et ut 
tale nocivum, magis enim fugit et timet 

25 rugitum, quia leonis est, quam clamorem 
lupi. Unde facit discretionem inter unum 
et aliud, quod non esset, nisi per ilia signa 
duceretur in leonem et in lupum, ut dis- 
tinguuntur inter se, et diverse modo 

20 nociva. Quod autem naturali instinctu 
formet iudicium de leone et lupo fugien- 
do, non tollit, quin id fiat ex praeexistente 
cognitione. Necessario enim in sensu ex- 
terno debet praecedere aliqua cognitio, vel 

25 quae videat leonem vel audiat eius rugi- 
tum, ut aestimativa ipsum ut inimicum 
apprehendat et iudicet. Habent enim bru- 
ta iudicium, sed sine indifferentia, ideo- 
que determinatum ad unum et ex instinc- 

30 tu naturali, qui instinctus cognitionem 
iudiciumque non excludit, sed indifferen- 
tiam. De quo videri potest S. Thomas 1. 
p. q. 83. art. 1. et q. 24. de Veritate art. 
2. 31 

35 Ad confirmationem 32 responde- 
tur, quod signum et significare desumitur 
univoce per ordinem ad signatum ut mani- 
festabile potentiae. Quod vero id fiat tali 
vel tali modo, quo potentia utitur signo, 

40 non reddit analogam aut aequivocam ra- 
tionem signi ex genere manifestandi, sed 
diversum modum potentiae in cognitione 
et usu signi. Nee est simile de scire et 
repraesentare, quia scire formaliter dicit 

45 cognitionem secundum rationem et con- 
sequentiam, quod bruto non convenit; 

29 See the references in note 4 above. 

30 213/23-40. 

31 Pa IX. 354 a. 

32 214/1-12. 

BOOK ONE, QUESTION SIX [691al6-20] 215 

sequence, which is not adapted to brute cognition; but "to repraesentare autem significando prae- 

represent by signifying" precisely bespeaks the manifes- cise dicit manifestationem tmius per 

tation of one thing through some medium, without deter- aliquod medium, non determinando, 

mining whether that manifestation be through a conse- quod sit per consequentiam seu ratio- 

quence or reason [or merely through some association]. 5 nem. 




Let us take stock of what we have said in this Book 
about the nature and rationale of signs. We have estab- 
lished the definition of a sign, the conditions requisite 
for a sign, and how the rationale of a sign differs from 
an image and other things manifestative of something 5 
besides themselves. 

And indeed our general definition of the sign is an 
essential definition. But we have defined sign in general, 
by abstracting from the formal and the instrumental sign, 
as: "That which represents something other than itself." 20 
For the familiar definition which has been bandied about 
since Augustine: 2 "A sign is something which, besides 
the impressions that it conveys to the senses, makes 
something else come into cognition," treats only of in- 
strumental signs. But the definition we have proposed is is 
handed down from St. Thomas Aquinas in Book IV of his 
Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, dist. 1, q. 
1, art. 1, quaestiunc. 1, reply to obj. 5, 3 where he says, 
that "a sign imports something manifest with respect to 
us, by which we are led to a knowledge of some other 20 
thing." And in the Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 9, art. 
4, reply to obj. 4, 4 St. Thomas says that "the sign, speak- 
ing generally, is any thing whatever known, in which 
another thing is known," where the qualification "speak- 
ing generally" means the same as "in general." 25 

Colligendo, quae de signi natura et ra- 
tione in hac quaestione diximus, constat, 
qualis sit definitio signi, et quae sint con- 
ditiones ad ipsam requisitae, quomodo 
item ab imagine et aliis manifestativis 
aliorum differat ratio signi. 

Et quidem definitio signi in communi 
essentialis est. Definivimus autem signum 
in communi abstrahendo a signo formali 
et instrumentali, scilcet: Quod reprae- 
sentat aliquid aliud a se. Nam ilia de- 
finitio, quae ex Augustino 2 circumfertur: 
Signum est, quod praeter species, quas 
ingerit sensibus, aliquid aliud facit in 
cognitionem venire, solum traditur de 
signo instrumentali. Definitio autem posi- 
ta traditur a Divo Thoma in 4. dist. 1. q. 
1. art. 1. questiunc. 1. ad 5., 3 ubi inquit, 
quod signum importat aliquid manifes- 
tum quoad nos, quo manuducimur in al- 
terius cognitionem. Et q. 9. de Veritate 
art. 4. ad 4. 4 inquit, quod signum com- 
muniter loquendo est quodcumque no- 
turn, in quo aliud cognoscitur, ubi ly 
communiter est idem quod in communi. 

1 In the original Latin: "... tota quaestione." 

2 De doctrine Christiana II. c. 1. (Migne P. L. XXXIV. 35). 

3 Pa VII. 455 b. 

4 Pa IX. 151 b. 


[691b8-692al8] 217 

This definition is essential in the way in which 
relatives are said to be essentially defined through their 
fundaments and in an order to a terminus; for an ac- 
tion is specified by a fundament and a terminus. But 
the rationale of something representative does not con- 
sist in a formal categorial relation, because something 
can be representative even when the [represented] ter- 
minus does not exist, as is clear in the case of a dead 
emperor represented by an image. The rationale of 
something representative, therefore, remains even when 
a relation does not exist, and so a representative is not 
formally a relation, but in a sign the representative is 
the fundament of the relation, inasmuch as it exists 
relative to another and founds a representation of 
another and does not stand in itself. And so the funda- 
ment of a sign is treated in terms of genus and dif- 
ference. For "something representative" is a genus, 
since indeed it is common [both] to that which repre- 
sents itself, as an object stimulating a cognition of itself, 
and to that which represents something other than itself, 
as a sign; and [from another point of view] it is inferior 
to being manifestative, because many things manifest 
and do not represent, such as light, for example, which 
manifests by illuminating, not by representing, and 
habit, which is also called a light, and so on for other 
things which manifest effectively, but not representative- 
ly and objectively. 

From this you can gather that in the definition of sign, 
the "represents" is taken strictly and most formally, 
namely, for that which represents in such a way that 
it does not manifest in any way other than by rep- 
resenting, that is to say, a sign keeps on the side of a 
representing object in such a way that only in rep- 
resenting does it serve that object, nor does it manifest 
in any other way than by representing. 

Whence one excludes many things which represent 
something besides themselves and are not signs, and 
concludes that a sign must be more known and more 
manifest than the significate in the representing, so that 
in being and in knowable rationale it is dissimilar and 
[unequal or] subsidiary to that significate. 

The first point 5 is clear from the fact that many 
things manifest things other than themselves by con- 
taining those other things or by illuminating or by caus- 
ing or by inferring, and so not only represent, but illu- 
minate, and manifest in virtue of some connection, not 
in virtue of a pure representation, that is, in the office 
of representing and objectifying to a cognitive power 
in the capacity of another. Thus premises as inferring do 

Haec definitio est essentialis eo modo, quo 
relativa dicuntur essentialiter definiri per 
sua fundamenta et in ordine ad terminum; 
a fundamento enim et termino specifi- 

5 catur actio. Ratio autem repraesentativi 
non consistit in formali relatione praedica- 
mentali, quia datur repraesentativum 
etiam non existente termino, ut patet cum 
mortuo imperatore repreaesentatur ab 

w imagine. Ratio ergo repraesentativi manet 
relatione non existente, et sic formaliter 
relatio non est, sed in signo est fundamen- 
tum relationis, quatenus se habet ad 
alterum et fundat alterius repraesenta- 

25 tionem et non sistit in se. Et sic traditur 
fundamentum signi per genus et differen- 
tiam. Nam ,, repraesentativum " est ge- 
nus, siquidem est commune ad id, quod 
repraesentat se, ut obiectum movens ad 

20 sui cognitionem, et id, quod repraesen- 
tat aliud a se, ut signum, et est inferius 
ad esse manifestativum, quia plura mani- 
festant et non repraesentant, ut lux, quae 
manifestat illustrando, non repraesentan- 

25 do, et habitus, qui etiam dicitur lumen, 
ac cetera, quae effective manifestant, sed 
non repraesentative et obiective. 

Ex quo colliges, quod in definitione 
signi ly repraesentat sumitur stricte et for- 

30 malissime, scilicet pro eo, quod repraesen- 
tat ita, quod non alio modo manifestat nisi 
repraesentando, id est ita ex parte obiec- 
ti repraesentantis se tenet, quod solum in 
repraesentando ei deservit nee alio modo 

35 manifestat quam repraesentando. 

Unde excludes plura, quae repraesentant 
aliud a se et non sunt signa, et concludes 
signum debere esse ita notius et mani- 
festius signato in repraesentando, quod 

40 in essendo et in ratione cognoscibili sit il- 
li dissimile et inferius. 

Primum 5 patet, quia multa mani- 
festant alia a se continendo ilia, aut illumi- 
nando aut causando aut inferendo, et sic 

45 non solum repraesentant, sed illuminant, 
et in vi connexionis alicuius ostendunt, 
non vi purae repraesentationis, id est in 
officio repraesentandi et obiciendi poten- 
tiae vice alterius. Sic praemissae ut in- 

5 217/36-37. 

218 [692al8-b23] 


not signify a conclusion (granted that in some cases 
a demonstration is inferred from a sign, but in such 
cases the signifying obtains materially); thus light does 
not signify colors, but manifests them; thus God does 
not signify creatures, even though he represents crea- 
tures, because he does not contain them purely by rep- 
resenting and portraying their condition, but also as 
a cause and manifesting by his own light. Wherefore 
it is impossible that there should be anything mani- 
festing another purely in representing, unless it is sub- 
sidiary to and less than that other which is represented, 
as if substituted for and acting in that other's capacity. 

But a sign must be dissimilar [to its significate], 6 be- 
cause it is more known and more manifest; otherwise, 
if it is equally manifest, there is no more reason for 
this to be a sign of one thing rather than a sign of some 
other thing; but a sign must be inferior to and less than 
the significate, because, as we have seen, it cannot be 
equal. But if it is superior, it will contain or cause that 
significate, but it will not purely represent and func- 
tion in its capacity. For that which is superior does not 
represent another unless it causes that other; otherwise, 
man would represent everything inferior to him, and 
the highest of the created pure spirits would represent 
all the things of the world. But if one thing represents 
another, because it contains in a superior mode and 
causes that other, it does not purely and precisely rep- 
resent in the other's capacity, and so is not a sign. 

From which you can gather what conditions are re- 
quired for something to be a sign. For the being of 
a sign essentially consists in an order to a signified as 
to a distinct thing manifestable to a cognitive power; 
and so a thing signified and a cognitive power are not 
among the requisite conditions, but belong to the 
essential rationale. Similarly, the rationale of something 
representative is required, but on the side of the fun- 
dament, and therefore the representative as such is not 
a categorial relation, even if it is a representative of 
another, but a transcendental relation; but in a sign 
it founds a relation of measured to signified, which is 
categorial. 7 

Besides these, therefore, there are required or fol- 
low the three conditions already mentioned: First, that 
the sign be more known than the signified, not ac- 
cording to nature, but as regards us. Second, that 
the sign be subsidiary to or more imperfect than the 
significate. Third, that the sign be dissimilar to that 

ferentes non significant conclusionem (licet 
aliquando ex signo deducatur demonstra- 
tio, sed ibi significare materialiter se tenet), 
sic lux non significat colores, sed mani- 

5 festat, sic Deus non significat creaturas, 
licet repraesentet, quia non pure reprae- 
sentando et vices earum gerendo, sed etiam 
ut causa continet et lumine suo manifes- 
tans. Quare impossibile est, quod detur ali- 

w quid manifestans alterum pure in reprae- 
sentando, nisi sit eo inferius et minus illo, 
quod repraesentatur, quasi substitutum et 
vices eius gerens. 

Dis simile vero esse debet, 6 quia no- 

15 tius et manifestius, alias si aeque manifes- 
tum est, non est maior ratio, quod hoc sit 
signum istius quam hoc alterius; i nf e r i u s 
autem et minus, quia aequale, ut vidimus, 
esse non potest. Si autem sit superius, con- 

20 tinebit aut causabit illud, non autem pure 
repraesentabit et vices eius geret. Id enim, 
quod superius est, non repraesentat aliud 
nisi causet illud, alioquin homo repraesen- 
taret omnia sibi inferiora et supremus an- 

25 gelus omnes res mundi. Si autem reprae- 
sentat alterum, quia continet superiori 
modo et causat illud, non pure et praecise 
repraesentat vice alterius, et sic non est 

30 Ex quo colliges, quae conditiones requi- 
rantur ad hoc, ut aliquid sit signum. Essen- 
tialiter enim consistit in ordine ad signatum 
ut ad rem distinctam manifestabilem poten- 
tiae; et sic signatum et potentia non sunt 

35 ex conditionibus requisitis, sed ex essentiali 
ratione. Similiter requiritur ratio reprae- 
sentativi, sed ex parte fundamenti, ideoque 
repraesentativum ut sic non est relatio prae- 
dicamentalis, etiamsi alterius repraesen- 

40 tativum sit, sed transcendentalis, in signo 
autem fundat relationem mensurati ad sig- 
natum, quae praedicamentalis est. 7 

Requiruntur ergo praeter ista seu con- 
sequuntur tres conditiones iam dic- 

45 tae: Prima, quod sit notius signato, non 
secundum naturam, sed quoad nos. Secun- 
da, quod sit inferius seu imperfectius 
signato. Tertia, quod sit dissimUe ipsi. 

6 217/39-41. 

7 See esp. Book I, Question 1, 123/26-124/18. 


[692b24-693a31] 219 

Whence it follows that one image is not said to 
be the sign of another image, nor one sheep of 
another sheep, and whatever things are the same in 
kind, insofar as they are such, do not function as signs 
of one another, because each one is equally principal. 
Nor does it matter that one image was transcribed 
from another; for that is incidental to the rationale 
of a sign, even as one man comes from another 
without being a sign of that other, although he is an 
image. For in the rationale of signifying each image 
has the same prototype as essentially represented, 
although one image can be more excellent than 
another, because it is older or prior or better made, 
which is incidental. But one concept can represent 
another concept, as a reflex concept represents a direct 
concept, though they differ in kind, because they 
represent objects different in kind, to wit, the one an 
external object, the other the very concept within. 

But if you should ask, how then does one similar 
thing represent or manifest another similar thing, the 
response is that it represents the other as correlative, 
not as representative, that is, by that general reason 
whereby one relative expresses an order to its correla- 
tive and includes it because correlatives are known 
simultaneously, not by that special reason whereby 
one thing is representatively related to another and 
exercises the function of presenting other objects to 
a cognitive power. 

Finally, from this analysis it becomes clear how a 
sign and an image differ. 8 For in the first place not 
every image is a sign, nor every sign an image. For an 
image can be of the same nature as that of which it is 
an image (for example, a son is of the same nature as 
a father, even in the divine persons), and yet not be a 
sign of that imaged thing. Many signs, too, are not 
images, as smoke of fire, a groan of pain. The ration- 
ale of an image, therefore, consists in this, that it pro- 
ceeds from another as from a principle and in a simil- 
itude or likeness of that other, as St. Thomas teaches 
in the Summa theologica, I, Qq. 35 and 93, and thus 
comes to be in imitation of that other and can be so 
perfectly similar to its principle as to be of the same 
nature as it and be a propagative image, not only a 
representative one. But it is not of the rationale of a sign 
that it proceed from another in a similitude, but that 
it be a means leading that other to a cognitive power 
and that it substitute for that other in representing as 
something more imperfect than and dissimilar to it. 

Unde sequitur, quod una imago non dici- 
tur signum alterius imaginis nee unum ovum 
alterius ovi, et quaecumque eiusdem speciei, 
in quantum in talibus non se habet unum ut 

5 signum alterius, quia utrumque est aeque prin- 
cipale. Nee obstat, quod una imago transcri- 
batur ex altera; id enim per accidens est ad ra- 
tionem signi, sicut etiam unus homo fit ex 
altero nee est signum illius, licet sit imago. 

w Utraque enim imago in ratione significandi 
habet idem prototypum ut repraesentatum per 
se, licet una imago possit haberi ut excellen- 
tior altera, quia antiquior vel prior vel melius 
fabricata, quod per accidens est. Unus autem 

35 conceptus potest repraesentare alium, ut re- 
flexus directum, sed differunt specie, cum 
diversa obiecta specie repraesentent, scilicet 
unus obiectum extra, alius ipsum conceptum 
ad intra. 

20 Si autem quaeras, quomodo ergo 
unum simile repraesentat seu manifestat aliud 
simile, respondetur, quod repraesentat aliud ut 
correlativum, non ut repraesentativum, id est 
ea generali ratione, qua unum relativum dicit 

25 ordinem ad correlativum illudque includit, 
quia sunt simul cognitione correlativa, non ea 
speciali ratione, qua unum repraesentative se 
habet ad aliud et munus exercet praesentandi 
alia obiecta potentiae. 

30 Denique innotescit ex dictis, quomodo dif- 
ferant signum et imago. 8 Nam imprimis nee 
omnis imago est signum nee ornne signum ima- 
go. Potest enim imago esse eiusdem naturae 
cum eo, cuius est 'imago, ut filius cum patre 

35 etiam in divinis, et tamen non est illius 
signum. Multa etiam signa non sunt imagines, 
ut fumus ignis, gemitus doloris. Ratio ergo ima- 
ginis consistit in hoc, quod procedat ab alio ut 
a principio et in similitudinem eius, ut docet 

40 S. Thomas 1. p. q. 35. et q. 93., et ita fit ad 
imitationem illius potestque esse ita perfecte 
similis suo prinicipio, ut sit eiusdem naturae 
cum ipso et sit imago propagativa, non solum 
repraesentativa. De ratione vero signi non est, 

45 quod procedat ab alio in similitudinem, sed 
quod sit medium ductivum illius ad potentiam 
et substituat pro illo in repraesentando ut ali- 
quid eo imperfectius et dissimile. 

8 See Book I, Question 1, 132/47-133/12; and Question 3, 164/13-165/8. And Book II, Ques- 
tion 2, note 27, p. 249. Cf. also Book I, Question 1, 116/14-117/17, .and 122/17-123/25. 

Liber Secundus 


Book II 


*In the original Latin: "Quaestio XXII. De Divisionibus Signi." Logica 2. p.: "Question 22. 
Concerning the Divisions of Sign." 


The rationale and nature of a sign having been explained, a consideration 
of its division follows. The division we have proposed for consideration is twofold, 
one into formal and instrumental signs, the other into natural, stipulated, and 
customary signs; and we treat of both divisions in this Book. 


Post explicatam rationem et naturam signi, sequitur consideratio de divi- 
sione eius, quae duplex est, altera informale et instrumental, altera in naturale 
et ad placitum et ex consuetudine; et de utraque in hac quaestione agendum est. 

*This passage is not included in Reiser's text, but is found in the Cologne edition of 1638, 
and may therefore presumably have been either from or approved by Poinsot himself: see 
"Editorial Afterword," Section III. A. The title for the passage was supplied by the translator. 




Whether the Division of Signs into Formal and 
Instrumental Is Univocal and Sound 


Utrum Sit Univoca et Bona Divisio Signi 
in Formale et Instrumentale 

No one doubts that an instrumental sign is truly 
and properly a sign; for nothing is more manifest than 
the fact that instrumental and exterior signs are truly 
signs. The whole difficulty is with the formal signs by 
which a cognitive power is formed and informed for 
the manifestation and knowledge of an object. The 
whole difficulty comes down to this: How the rationale 
of a medium or means leading a cognitive power to 
a thing signified fits the formal sign, and how the con- 
ditions for a sign apply to it, particularly the condi- 
tion that a sign be more imperfect than its significate, 
and that a thing is said to be known more imperfectly 
through a sign than if it were known and represented 
in itself and immediately. 

And the reason for this difficulty is that a formal 
sign, since it is the awareness itself or concept of a 
thing, does not add numerically to [does not differ 
from] the very cognition itself to which it leads the 
power. It cannot then have the rationale of a means 
to the end that a power be rendered actually knowing 
and that from nonmanifest an object should become 
manifest, since indeed the formal sign is the rationale 
itself and the form of the knowing; and so the formal 
sign leads to this, that a concept and awareness be 
posited in a power and that the power become actual- 
ly knowing; but not that the concept itself is in- 
termediary to the knowing. On the contrary, something 
is said to be known equally immediately when it is known 
in itself and when it is known by means of a concept or 




De signo instrumentali, quod vere et 
proprie sit signum, nullus dubitat; nihil 
enim manifestius quam instrumentalia et 
exteriora signa vere esse signa. Sed TOTA 
DIFFICULTAS est circa signa formalia, quibus 
formatur et informatur potentia cognosci- 
tiva ad manifestationem obiecti eiusque 
cognitionem. Et tota difficultas devolvitur 
ad hoc: Quomodo signo formali conveniat 
ratio medii ductivi potentiae ad signatum, 
et quomodo conveniant ei conditiones sig- 
ni, praesertim ilia, quod sit imperfectior 
suo significato, et dicatur res imperfec- 
tius cognosci per signum, quam si in seip- 
sa et immediate cognoscatur et repraesen- 

Et ratio est, quia signum formale, cum 
sit ipsa notitia vel conceptus rei, non ponit 
in numero cum ipsamet cognitione, ad 
quam ducitur potentia. Unde non potest 
habere rationem medii ad hoc, ut potentia 
reddatur cognoscens et ut obiectum ex non 
manifesto fiat manifestum, siquidem est 
ipsa ratio et forma cognoscendi, et sic sig- 
num ad hoc ducit, ut conceptus notitiaque 
ponatur in potentia fiatque cognoscens; 
non vero ipse conceptus medium est ad 
cognoscendum. Imo aeque immediate dici- 
tur aliquid cognosci, quando cognoscitur 

224 [693b31-694a34] 


awareness; for a concept does not make cognition 

To see how this is so the more briefly and clearly, 
advert to St. Thomas's teaching in the Commentary on 
the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book IV, dist. 49, q. 2, 
art. 1, reply to obj. 15, 1 and in the Questions at Ran- 
dom, q. 7, art. I, 2 that the medium or means in cogni- 
tion is threefold: the means under which, as the light 
under whose illumination some thing is seen; the means 
by which, namely, the impressed specifying form by 
which a thing is seen; the means in which, namely, that 
in which another thing is seen, as when I see a man 
in a mirror. And this means in which can yet be 
twofold: 3 something material and outside the cognitive 
power, namely, that in which there is a similitude or 
image of another, such as the reflection of a man in 
a mirror; another formal and intrinsic to the power, as 
is an expressed specifier or mental word, in which a 
thing understood is cognized. For St. Thomas teaches 
in his Disputed Questions on the Power of God, q. 8, art. 
1, and q. 9, art. 5, 4 that the mental word or concept 
is given as distinct from the act of cognition, and we 
will ourselves show this to be the case in q. II 5 in the 
books Concerning the Soul. Moreover, this fact estab- 
lishes the principal ground for explaining that there 
is a word in the divine relations, the fact that such a 
word proceeding through understanding is given in 
us. But those who deny that there is such a word in 
us destroy this ground. And the first means-in-which 
makes a cognition mediate, that is, drawn from another 
known thing or cognition, and it pertains to the in- 
strumental sign, but the second means-in-which does not 
constitute a mediate cognition, because it does not double 
the object known nor the cognition. But indeed it is truly 
and properly a means representing an object, not as 
an extrinsic medium, but as one intrinsic and forming 
the cognitive power. For to represent is nothing other 
than to render an object present and conjoined to a 
power in knowable existence, whether as a principle 
in an impressed specification, which obtains on the side 
of the principle [of a cognition], because from it and 
the power cognition must proceed; or on the side 

in seipso et quando cognoscitur mediante 
conceptu vel notitia; conceptus enim non 
facit cognitionem mediatam. 

Ut brevius et clarius res ista percipiatur, 

5 adverte ex D. Thoma in 4. dist. 49. q. 2. art. 
1. ad 15. * et Quodlib. 7. art. I., 2 quod 
medium in cognitione est triplex: medium 
sub quo, ut lumen sub cuius illustratione res 
aliqua videtur; medium quo, scilicet species, 

w qua res videtur; medium in quo, scilicet id, 
in quo alia res videtur, ut in speculo video 
hominem. Et hoc medium in quo potest 
adhuc esse duplex: 3 quoddam materiale et 
extra potentiam, scilicet illud, in quo est 

15 similitude seu imago alterius, ut in speculo 
imago hominis; aliud formale et intrinse- 
cum, sicut species expressa seu verbum 
mentis, in quo res intellecta cognoscitur. 
Hoc enim dari ut distinctum ab actu cog- 

20 nitionis docet Divus Thomas q. 8. de Poten- 
tia art. 1. et q. 9. art. 5. 4 et nos ostendemus 
in libris de Anima q. II. 5 constatque 
praecipuam rationem explicandi verbum in 
divinis esse, quia in nobis tale verbum 

25 datur procedens per intellectionem. Qui 
autem negant dari verbum in nobis, evacu- 
ant istam rationem. Et primum medium in 
quo facit cognitionem mediatam, id est ex 
alio cognito vel cognitione deductam per- 

30 tinetque ad signum instrumentale, secun- 
dum vero medium cognitionem mediatam 
non constituit, quia non duplicat obiectum 
cognitum neque cognitionem. Ceterum 
vere et proprie est medium repraesentans 

35 obiectum, non ut medium extrinsecum, sed 
ut intrinsecum et formans potentiam. Ete- 
nim repraesentare non est aliud quam red- 
dere praesens et coniunctum obiectum 
potentiae in esse cognoscibili, sive per mo- 

40 dum principii in specie impressa, quae ex 
parte principii se tenet, quia ex ipsa et po- 
tentia procedere debet cognitio, sive ex 

1 Pa VII. 1201 a. 

2 Pa IX. 553 a. 

3 See the discussion and references above in Book I, Question 3, note 12, p. 163. 

4 Pa VIII. 169 a et 186 a. 

5 In the original Latin: "q. 10," i.e., Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 10, "De intellectu agente et possibili" 
("On the acting and possible understanding"), which does not fit the context referred to, whereas 
q. 11, "De intellectione et conceptu" ("On the act of understanding and the concept") does, 
specifically, art. 1, "Utrum intellectio sit de praedicamento actionis vel qualitatis distinguaturque realiter 
a verbo mentis" ("Whether the activity of understanding belongs to the category of action or of 
quality and whether it should be really distinguished from the mental word"). 


[694a34-b44] 225 

of the terminus in an expressed specifier, which obtains 
on the side of the terminus, because in it the object is 
proposed and presented as cognized and terminating 
cognition within the power, within which the specifier 
assumes the rationale of the object. But an object is ren- 
dered present or represented to a power not from itself 
immediately, but by means of a concept or expressed 
specifier. A concept is therefore a means in represent- 
ing an object, by which the object is thus rendered 
represented and conjoined to the cognitive power. 

I say therefore first: In the opinion of St. Thomas, 
it is more probable that a formal sign is truly and prop- 
erly a sign, and therefore univocally with an instru- 
mental sign, even though formal signs and instrumen- 
tal signs greatly differ in mode of specifying. 

In order to make clear the mind of St. Thomas on 
this question, one must reckon with the fact that some- 
times he speaks of a sign precisely as it exercises the 
office of representing another besides itself, and in this 
way of speaking he concedes to the formal sign the ra- 
tionale of a sign simply. At other times St. Thomas 
speaks of signs which, as things objectified and first 
known, lead us to something signified, and in this usage 
he teaches that a sign is principally found in sensible 
things, not in spiritual things which are less manifest 
to us, as he says in his Commentary on the Sentences of 
Peter Lombard, Book IV, dist. 1, q. 1, quaestiunc. 2, 6 and 
in the Summa theologica, III, q. 60, art. 4, reply to obj. 1. 

That therefore a formal sign is a sign simply and ab- 
solutely, is inferred first from the Questions at Random, 
q. 4, art. 17, 7 where he says that "a voice is the sign 
and not the signified; but a concept is sign and signified, 
just as it is also the thing [known]." But according to 
St. Thomas, a concept could not be an instrumental 
sign, as is perfectly clear, since a concept is not an ex- 
trinsic stimulating object; therefore he attributes to it 
the rationale of a sign insofar as it is a formal sign. 

Likewise in q. 4 of the Disputed Questions on Truth, 
art. 1, reply to obj. 7, 8 he speaks thus: "The ration- 
ale of a sign belongs to an effect before it belongs 
to a cause by a natural priority when the cause is 
related to the effect as its cause of being, but not 
when related to the effect as its cause of signifying. 
But when an effect has from the cause not only the 
fact of its existence, but also the fact of its exist- 
ing as signifying, then, just as the cause is prior to 
the effect in being, so is it prior in signifying, and 
therefore the interior word possesses a rationale of 

parte termini in specie expressa, quae ex 
parte termini se tenet, quia in ipsa obiec- 
tum proponitur et praesentatur ut cogni- 
tum et cognitionem terminans intra poten- 

5 tiam, intra quam induit rationem obiecti. 
Redditur autem obiectum praesens seu re- 
praesentatur potentiae non seipso imme- 
diate, sed mediante conceptu vel specie. 
Est ergo medium in repraesentando id, 

10 quo sic redditur obiectum repraesentatum 
et coniunctum potentiae. 

Dico ERGO PRIMO: In sententia S. Tho- 
mae probabilius est signum f ormale esse 
vere et proprie signum, atque adeo uni- 

15 voce cum instrumentali, licet in modo 
significandi valde differant. 

Et pro mente S. Doctoris declaranda ex- 
pendendum est, quod aliquando loquitur 
de signo, ut praecise exercet officium re- 

20 praesentandi aliud a se, et sic tribuit 
formali rationem signi simpliciter. Aliquan- 
do loquitur S. Thomas de signis, quae tam- 
quam res obiectae et prius cognitae ducunt 
nos ad aliquod signatum, et in tali accep- 

25 tione docet signum principaliter inveniri 
in sensibilibus, non in spiritualibus, quae 
minus manifesta nobis sunt, ut loquitur in 
4. dist. 1. q. 1. art. 1. quaestiunc. 2. 6 et 3. 
p. q. 60. art. 4. ad 1. 

30 Quod ergo signum formale sim- 
pliciter et absolute sit signum, de- 
ducitur primo ex Quodlib. 4. art. 17. , 7 ubi 
inquit, quod vqx est signum et non sig- 
natum; conceptus autem est signum et 

35 signatum, sicut et res. Sed secundum D. 
Thomam non potuit conceptus esse sig- 
num instrumentale, ut de se patet, cum 
non sit obiectum extrinsecum movens; 
ergo attribuit ei rationem signi, in quan- 

40 turn signum formale. 

Item in q. 4. de Veritate art. 1. ad 7. 8 sic 
inquit: Ratio signi per prius convenit ef- 
fectui quam causae, quando causa est effec- 
tui causa essendi, non autem significandi. 

45 Sed quando effectus habet a causa non 
solum, quod sit, sed etiam quod significet, 
tune sicut causa est prior quam effectus in 
essendo, ita in significando, et ideo verbum 

6 Pa VII. 455 b. 

7 Pa IX. 517 a. 

8 Pa IX. 65 a. 

226 [694b44-695b4] 



signification that is naturally prior to that of the exterior 
word." Thus St. Thomas, where he speaks absolutely 
concerning the mental word as such, also attributes to 
it the rationale of a sign which cannot be an instrumental 
sign, because a mental word does not exist outside of 5 
a cognitive power nor does it stimulate or move, as has 
been said. 

And finally in q. 9 of the Disputed Questions on Truth, 
art. 4, reply to obj. 4, 9 he says that "for us signs are 
sensible things, because our cognition, as it involves w 
discourse, arises from the senses. But in general we can 
say that anything whatever known in which another 
is known is a sign. And according to this usage an in- 
telligible form can be said to be a sign of the thing which 
is known through it. And so pure spirits know things is 
through signs, and one spirit communicates with an- 
other through a sign." Thus when St. Thomas uses the 
phrase "in general we can say that etc.," he is not using 
"in general" as a synonym for "improperly and not 
truly," but is using it in accordance with the rationale 
of sign that is simultaneously general and true, even 
though he is not speaking of the usual way in which 
we employ signs according to our mode of knowing by 
passing from one thing to another and by forming an 
imperfect (or, if you will, a discursive) knowledge from 
sign to signified. And thus as regards the mode of cog- 
nizing, the rationale of sign is ascertained with a cer- 
tain greater propriety in an external and instrumental 
sign, inasmuch as the act of leading from one thing to 
another is more manifestly exercised there when the 30 
two cognitions exist (first one of the sign, and then one 
of the signified) than when there is but one cognition, 
as is found in the leading to another exercised by a for- 
mal sign. 10 Whence St. Thomas says finally in q. 9 of 
the Disputed Questions on Truth, art. 4, reply to obj. 5, 11 35 
that "it is not of the rationale of sign properly under- 
stood to be prior or posterior by nature, but only to be 
precognized by us." Whence it happens that for pre- 
serving [in anything] the property of [being] a sign, it 
suffices to verify that [the thing in question] is precog- 40 
nized known first which is accomplished for a for- 
mal sign not because it is first known as an object, but 
as the rationale and form whereby an object is rendered 
known within a power, and so it is precognized for- 
mally, not denominatively and as a thing is cognized. 12 45 


interius per prius habet rationem significa- 
tionis quam verbum exterius. Ita D. Tho- 
mas, ubi loquitur absolute de quocumque 
verbo mentis et rationem signi illi attribuit, 
quod instrumentale esse non potest, cum 
extra potentiam non sit nee moveat, ut dic- 
tum est. 

Ac denique in q. 9. de Veritate art. 4. ad 
4. 9 inquit, quod signa in nobis sunt sen- 
sibilia, quia nostra cognitio, ut discursiva 
est, a sensibus oritur. Sed communiter pos- 
sumus signum dicere quodcumque notum, 
in quo aliud cognoscatur. Et secundum hoc 
forma intelligibilis potest dici signum rei, 
quae per ipsam cognoscitur. Et sic angeli 
cognoscunt res per signa, et unus angelus 
per signum alteri loquitur. Ita D. Thomas, 
ubi quando dicit: Signum communiter 
possumus dicere etc., ly communiter non 
est idem quod improprie et non vere, sed 
secundum communem rationem signi, ve- 
ram tamen, licet non sub ea appropriatione, 
qua nos utimur signis secundum nostrum 
modum cognoscendi, deveniendo de uno 
ad aliud et formando cognitionem imper- 
fectam aut discursivam ex signo ad signa- 
tum. Et ita quoad modum cognoscendi cum 
quadam maiori proprietate invenitur ratio 
signi in signo externo et instrumentali, 
quatenus ibi manifestius exercetur ducere 
de uno ad aliud, duplici existente cognitio- 
ne, altera signi, altera signati, quam unica 
solum, sicut in signo formali invenitur. 10 
Unde tandem D. Thomas hoc ultimo loco 
cit. solut. ad 5. 11 dicit, quod de ratione 
signi proprie accepta non est, quod sit prius 
vel posterius narura, sed solummodo, quod 
sit nobis praecognitum. Ex quo fit, quod 
ad salvandam proprietatem signi sufficit 
salvare, quod sit praecognitum, quod in 
signo formali reperitur, non quia sit prae- 
cognitum ut obiectum, sed ut ratio et for- 
ma, qua obiectum redditur cognitum intra 
potentiam, et sic est praecognitum formali- 
ter, non denominative et ut res cognita. 12 

9 Pa IX. 151 b. 

10 See above, Book I, Question 6, 210/25-35, 211/29-39, and 212/15-18. 

11 Pa IX. 151 b. 

12 See below, 231/45-232/31; Question 2, 249/13-251/13; Book III, Question 3, 324/7-329/41, 
and 330/13-332/13, but esp. 325/22-32, 326/35-327/14, 328/40-329/5, and 331/27-35. 


[695b5-696al4] 227 

And from this is taken the FOUNDATION OF OUR CON- 
CLUSION stated above, because it belongs to a formal 
sign properly and truly to be representative of another 
than itself, and it is ordered of its nature to this repre- 
sentation precisely as substituting in the place of the 
thing or object which it renders present to the under- 
standing; therefore it preserves the essential rationale 
of a sign. 13 

The consequence is clear, because it substantiates 
the definition of a sign as a representative of another 
than itself through the mode of something more known 
and substituting for another, and therefore not equal 
to it, but more imperfect and deficient. But the whole 
of this is found in a formal sign. For the concept, for 
example, of man, represents another besides itself, 
namely, human beings; and it is more known, not ob- 
jectively, but formally, since indeed it renders known 
and cognized a being who without the concept is un- 
known and not presented to the understanding; and 
for the same reason it is something first known formally, 
that is, it exists as the rationale whereby an object is 
rendered cognized. But that which is the underlying 
reason for something's being such, insofar as it is the 
rationale and form, is prior to that thing in the same 
way that a form is prior to a formal effect. If therefore 
a concept is the reason why a thing is known, it is prior 
by the priority of form to subject and of denominating 
rationale to denominated thing. Similarly, a concept is 
not equal to the very object represented, but is sub- 
sidiary to and more imperfect than that object, as is dear 
in the case of created concepts, because created con- 
cepts are intentions ordered and subordinated by their 
nature to substitute for objects and to act in the capaci- 
ty of those objects (to be their vicegerents) on the side 
of the terminus represented and of the cognizing [of 
the object's being known] by a power. Therefore they 
are subsidiaries of an object precisely as it is the object 
of those concepts, because an object always exists as 
the principal and a concept as representing and vice- 
gerent of a principal. And so in intentional being a con- 
cept is always subsidiary or inferior, although on other 
grounds, namely, in the rationale of a spiritual entity, 
a concept can sometimes be superior to an object. And 
when we say that an object is more principal and more 
perfect, we are speaking about the primary and formal 
object of a concept; for the material and secondary ob- 
ject exists accessorially, nor need it be more perfect than 
the concept, since the concept does not substitute for 
that object directly and essentially. 

Et ex hoc sumitur FUNDAMENTUM CON- 
CLUSIONIS, quia signo formali convenit pro- 
prie et vere esse repraesentativum alterius 
a se, et ex natura sua ordinatur ad hanc 

5 repraesentationem tamquam substituens 
loco rei seu obiecti, quod reddit praesens 
intellectui; ergo salvat essentialem rationem 
signi. 13 

Consequentia patet, quia salvat definitio- 

w nem traditam signi, quod sit repraesentati- 
vum alterius a se per modum alicuius ma- 
gis noti et substituentis pro alio, atque adeo 
illi non aequale, sed imperfectius et defici- 
ens. Hoc autem totum invenitur in signo 

15 formali. Nam conceptus, v. g. hominis, re- 
praesentat aliud a se, scilicet hominem; et 
est notior, non obiective, sed formaliter, si- 
quidem hominem reddit notum et cogni- 
tum, qui sine conceptu latens est et non 

20 praesentatus intellectui; et eadem ratione 
est prius cognitum formaliter, id est habet 
se ut ratio, qua obiectum redditur cogni- 
tum. Id autem, quod est ratio, ut aliquid 
sit tale, in quantum ratio et forma, est prius 

25 eo, eo modo, quo forma est prior effectu 
formali. Si ergo conceptus est ratio, ut res 
sit cognita, prius est prioritate formae ad 
subiectum et rationis denominantis ad rem 
denominatam. Similiter non est aequale ip- 

30 si obiecto repraesentato, sed inferius et im- 
perfectius illo, ut in conceptibus creatis 
patet, quia conceptus creati sunt intentio- 
nes ex natura sua ordinatae et subordinatae 
obiectis, ut loco illorum substituant et vices 

35 eorum gerant ex parte termini repraesentati 
et cognoscendi a potentia. Ergo sunt inferi- 
ores obiecto, ut obiectum illorum est, quia 
semper obiectum se habet ut principale et 
conceptus ut repraesentans et eius gerens 

40 vices. Et sic in esse intentionali semper est 
inferius, licet aliunde in ratione spiritualis 
entitatis possit aliquando conceptus supera- 
re obiectum. Et quando dicimus obiectum 
esse principalius et perfectius, loquimur de 

45 obiecto primario et formali conceptus; nam 
obiectum materiale et secundarium habet 
se accessorie, nee est necesse, quod sit per- 
fectius, cum pro illo non directe et per se 
substituat conceptus. 

13 See Book I, Question 1, 119/28-39; Question 6, 210/25-35. 

228 [696al5-bl6] 


Finally, it does not matter that a concept does not 
seem to add numerically to the represented object, 
since indeed a thing is seen in the concept and not 
outside of it. For even though in the representative 
mode one thing may be seen to result from the rep- 
resenting concept and the represented object, yet 
this unity does not destroy the true and proper 
representative and significative being. Nay rather, 
the more a representation is one with the thing rep- 
resented, the better and more efficacious is the 
representation. Yet no matter how perfect, a con- 
cept in us does not attain to identity with the rep- 
resented, because it never attains to this, that it 
represents itself, but [always rather] another than 
itself, because it always functions as something vi- 
carious in respect of an object; it always retains a 
distinction, therefore, between the thing signified 
and itself signifying. 14 

It is otherwise in the Divine Relations. For the 
Word, because it is a highest representation in pure 
act, by virtue of so great a representation, attains to 
identity with the represented divine essence, and thus 
loses the rationale of a sign, 15 about which see St. 
Thomas, Summa theologica, I, q. 27, art. 1. And for this 
same reason a concept or expressed specification re- 
tains the rationale of a medium or means to an extent 
sufficient for the rationale of sign. For it possesses the 
rationale of a means in which, because it never 
represents itself, but another besides itself, as it keeps 
on the side of a term of the cognition, not on the side 
of a principle as does an impressed specifier. But 
because it is not the final terminus, that is to say, 
because it is not known as the thing, but as servile to 
a power, that in it the power should apprehend the 
thing as finally known, therefore it possesses sufficient- 
ly the rationale of a means by this very fact, that it is 
not the final terminus in the knowing. 16 Nor is the 
concept said to bear toward the thing signified de- 
ficiently, as if to say that it represents deficiently 
and imperfectly; for a deficient and imperfect repre- 
sentation is not of the rationale of a sign, but happens 
to it. But for a concept to be a sign it is enough that 
the concept should be of itself subservient to the 
signified and vicegerent of the represented object and 
substituting in place of that object, since indeed insofar 
as it is such it is subsidiary to that for which it sub- 

Denique non obstat, quod conceptus 
non videtur ponere in numero cum obiec- 
to repraesentato, siquidem res in concep- 
tu videtur et non extra. Nam licet modo 

5 repraesentativo videatur fieri unum ex con- 
ceptu repraesentante et obiecto repraesen- 
tato, tamen haec unitas non destruit verum 
et proprium esse repraesentativum et sig- 
nificativum. Imo quanto magis repraesen- 

10 tatio est unum cum re repraesentata, tan- 
to melior et efficacior est repraesentatio. 
Nee tamen pervenit in nobis conceptus, 
quantumcumque perfectus, ad identitatem 
cum repraesentato, quia numquam perve- 

15 nit ad hoc, quod repraesentet se, sed aliud 
a se, quia semper se habet ut vicarium quid 
respectu obiecti; semper ergo retinet dis- 
tinctionem inter rem significatam et ipsum 
significans. 14 

20 Aliud est in Divinis. Verbum enim quia 
est summa repraesentatio in actu puro, ex 
vi tantae repraesentationis pervenit ad 
identitatem cum essentia divina repraesen- 
tata, et ita amittit rationem signi, 15 de quo 

25 Divus Thomas 1. p. q. 27. art. 1. Et ex hac 
eadem ratione conceptus seu species ex- 
pressa retinet rationem medii, quantum 
sufficit ad rationem signi. Habet enim ra- 
tionem medii in quo, quia numquam se, sed 

so aliud a se repraesentat, ut tenet se ex parte 
termini cognitionis, non ex parte principii 
sicut species impressa. Sed quia non est ter- 
minus ultimus seu cognitum tamquam res, 
sed ut deserviens potentiae, ut in eo rem 

35 apprehendat tamquam ultimo cognitam, 
ideo sufficienter habet rationem medii hoc 
ipso, quod non est terminus ultimus in 
cognoscendo. 16 Nee dicitur deficienter se 
habere ad signatum, quasi deficienter et 

40 imperfecte repraesentet; deficiens enim 
repraesentatio et imperfecta non est de 
ratione signe, sed accidit illi. Sufficit 
autem, quod ex se sit subserviens signa- 
to et vices gerens obiecti repraesentati 

45 et loco illius substituens, siquidem in 
quantum tale est inferius eo, pro quo sub- 

14 See 233/35-234/5 below. 

15 See below, 233/3-25. And cf. Question 2, 253/4-37. 

16 See below, 231/45-232/31; and Question 2, 249/15-20. 


[696bl7-697a21] 229 

I say secondly: the division into formal and in- 
strumental signs is essential, univocal, and ade- 

That it is univocal and essential is inferred from 
the preceding conclusion, because a formal sign is 
truly and essentially a sign, as we have shown. But 
no one doubts that an instrumental sign is truly and 
essentially a sign. Therefore the division is essen- 
tial and univocal. 

That the division is adequate is established from 
the fact that the members of the division are reduced 
to contradictories, and so exhaust the divided whole. 
For since every sign is a means leading to another, 
either this means is first known with another's being 
known as a result, or not [i.e., another's being is 
known without resulting from the sign's being ob- 
jectively known] . If it is first known denominative- 
ly or objectively, it is an instrumental sign. If it is 
not first known objectively, and represents another 
nevertheless, it does so formally, because it is the 
rationale whereby another is rendered known within 
a power, not outside as an object known; 17 therefore 
it is a formal sign. 

Finally, that the division is essential, not acciden- 
tal, is established from the fact that the essential ra- 
tionale of a sign consists in the representation of a 
significate, inasmuch as an object is rendered pres- 
ent to a cognitive power and conjoined thereto. But 
to render another present to a power from one's self 
formally, and to render another present [to a power] 
as a thing first known in its own right and as an ob- 
ject of that power, are essentially different modes 
of representation. Therefore different presences re- 
sult from a form representing immediately or from 
an object first known as an object, and consequent- 
ly there are essentially different representations and 
different notifications, and therefore essentially dif- 
ferent signs. 18 


Against the first conclusion arguments can be 
formed either from certain propositions written by 
St. Thomas, or by attempting to prove that condi- 
tions requisite for the essence of a sign do not fit the 
case of a formal sign. 

From St. Thomas therefore it can be objected 
first, because in the Summa theologica, III, q. 60, art. 
4, reply to obj. 1, he says that things which are 

Dico SECUNDO: Divisio in signum for- 
male et instrumentale est essentialis, uni- 
voca et adaequata. 

Quod sit univoca et essentialis 

5 ex praecedenti conclusione deducitur, quia 
signum formale vere et essentialiter est 
signum, ut ostendimus. De instrumental! 
autem nullus dubitat, quod sit signum. 
Ergo essentialis et univoca est. 

w Quod vero sit adaequata, constat, 
quia divisionis membra reducuntur ad 
contradictoria, et sic exhauriunt totum 
divisum. Nam cum omne signum sit me- 
dium ductivum ad aliud, vel hoc medium 

is est prius cognitum ad hoc, ut aliud cog- 
noscatur, vel non. Si est prius cognitum 
denominative seu obiective, est signum in- 
strumentale. Si non est prius cognitum 
obiective, et tamen repraesentat aliud, id 

20 facit formaliter, quia est ratio, qua aliud 
redditur cognitum intra potentiam, non 
extra ut obiectum cognitum; 17 ergo est 
signum formale. 

Denique quod divisio e s s e n t i a 1 i s sit, 

25 non accidentalis, inde constat, quia essen- 
tialis ratio signi consistit in repraesenta- 
tione signati, quatenus obiectum redditur 
praesens potentiae et illi coniungitur. Di- 
versus autem modus repraesentationis est 

30 essentialiter in hoc, quod est seipso for- 
maliter reddere alterum praesens poten- 
tiae, et in hoc, quod est reddere praesens 
ut prius cognitum et obiectum potentiae. 
Ergo fit diversa praesentia per formam re- 

35 praesentantem immediate vel per obiec- 
tum prius cognitum, et consequenter di- 
versa repraesentatio essentialiter est et 
diversa notificatio, atque adeo diversum 
signum essentialiter. 18 



Contra primam conclusionem f ormari 

possunt argumenta vel ex quibusdam auc- 

toritatibus D. Thomae vel intendendo pro- 

45 bare, quod non conveniunt signo formali 

conditiones ad essentiam signi requisitae. 

Ex D. THOMA ergo obici potest primo, 
quia 3. p. q. 60. art. 4. ad 1. inquit, quod 

17 See Book I, Question 2, 135/6-18 above; and below, Question 2, 249/14-20. 

18 See above, Book I, Question 2, 145/10-28; and below, Book II, Question 2, 238/28-45. 

230 [697a21-b27] 


offered to the senses are first and principally called signs, 
but intelligible effects do not have the rationale of a sign ex- 
cept as they are manifested through some signs. But formal 
signs are a kind of intelligible effect, as they are concepts 
and expressed specifying forms; therefore they are not 
signs, except as they are manifested by something sensible. 

Similarly, in Book IV of the Commentary on the Sen- 
tences, dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1, quaestiunc. 2, 19 he says that "the 
word 'sign' as regards its first meaning refers to some sen- 
sible thing, according as we are led by means of it into 
a cognition of something hidden." Therefore, since [the 
expression] "formal signs" does not designate anything 
sensible leading to something hidden, formal signs are not 
primarily and essentially signs. 

And for the same conclusion, that text will 
serve which we have cited above from the Disputed Ques- 
tions on Truth, q. 9, art. 4, 20 reply to obj. 4, where he says 
that a sign is found properly, when cognition passes from 
one object known to another; nevertheless, it can be said 
in general that a sign is anything whatever known, in 
which another is known. The formal sign, therefore, is not 
properly a sign. 

The response 21 is that St. Thomas is speaking in these 
places about the sign not according to the general ration- 
ale of sign, but according as signs are subject to our cogni- 
tion, insofar as our cognition first needs the external guid- 
ance of an object, and only thereafter requires formation 
through concepts and intelligible forms; and in this latter 
need our cognition shares with that of pure spirits, but 
it differs in the first need, and thus it is proper to our cogni- 
tion to be led by an object externally proposed. 22 In respect 
of our knowledge, therefore, the proper rationale of a sign 
is found in a sensible sign leading us to a significate. I say 
"proper" rationale, not of a sign as such, but "proper" 
as it is subject to us and first comes into the control or use 
of our cognition. Whence those things which are spiritual 
are not subject to our cognition in the mode of a sign [i.e., 
as objects representing another object] unless they are 
manifested to us through something sensible. And it is 
in this way that St. Thomas is speaking in the third part 
of the Summa theologica and in the fourth book of the Com- 
mentary on the Sentences. But he explains his own mind in 
the passage cited from q. 9 of the Disputed Questions on 
Truth, where he says that a sign is properly found when 
cognition passes from one known object to another. 
"Properly," I say, with respect to ourselves, and as a sign 

primo et principaliter dicuntur signa, quae 
sensibus offeruntur, effectus autem intel- 
ligibiles non habent rationem signi, nisi 
secundum quod sunt manifestati per aliqua 

5 signa. Sed signa formalia sunt effectus 
quidam intelligibiles, sicut conceptus et 
species expressae; ergo non sunt signa, nisi 
ut manifestantur aliquo sensibili. 

Similiter 4. dist. 1. q. 1. art. 1. quaes- 

10 tiunc. 2. 19 inquit, quod signum quantum 
ad primarn sui institutionem signat aliquam 
rem sensibilem, prout per earn manudu- 
cimur in cognitionem alicuius occulti. Ergo 
cum signa formalia non designent aliquid 

is sensibile ducens in occultum, non sunt 
primo et per se signa. 

Et ad idem servit id, quod supra retulimus 
ex q. 9. de Veritate art. 4. ad 4., 20 ubi sig- 
num proprie dicit reperiri, quando discur- 

20 ritur de uno ad aliud; potest tamen com- 
muniter dici signum quodcumque notum, 
in quo aliud cognoscitur. Non ergo signum 
formale proprie est signum. 

Respondetur 21 D. Thomam in his 

25 locis loqui de signo non secundum com- 
munem rationem signi, sed prout deservit 
nostrae cognitioni, quatenus nostra cogni- 
tio indiget manuductione externa obiecti, 
deinde formatione per conceptus et formas 

30 intelligibiles; et in hoc convenit cum an- 
gelis, sed differt in primo, et ita est pro- 
priurn nostrae cognitionis deduci ex obiecto 
externe proposito. 22 Respectu ergo nostri 
propria ratio signi invenitur in sensibili 

35 signo ducente nos ad signatum. Propria, 
inquam, ratio non signi secundum se, sed 
propria, ut deservit nobis et venit in usum 
nostrae cognitionis. Unde ea, quae spiritu- 
alia sunt, nisi manifestentur per aliquid 

40 sensibile nobis, nostrae cognitioni per mo- 
dum signi non deserviunt. Et sic loquitur 
S. Thomas in 3. p. et in 4. Sentent. Explicat 
autem propriam mentem in q. 9. de Veri- 
tate cit., ubi dicit proprie reperiri signum, 

45 quando discurritur de uno ad aliud. Pro- 
prie, inquam, quoad nos et ut deservit ac- 

19 Pa VII. 455 b. 

20 Pa IX. 151 b. 

21 to 229/47-230/22. 

22 See Book III, Question 2, esp. 304/10-14 and 305/34-312/6; and Question 3 throughout in 
the light of 326/23-33. 


[697b27-698a35] 231 

serves the acquisition of cognition. But he adds that 
in general anything known in which another is cog- 
nized can be called a sign, not by understanding by 
the term "in general" an improper sign, but the 
general rationale of a sign, proper indeed according 
to the way a sign as such has being, but not proper 
according to the way a sign has being for our mode 
of acquiring cognition. 

It is argued secondly that conditions requi- 
site for a sign are absent from the case of a so-called 
formal sign. For a formal sign does not have the ra- 
tionale of medium, but it can have the rationale of 
terminus of cognition, and consequently is posterior 
to cognition itself and proceeds therefrom, as is clear 
in the case of a concept or mental word, which is a 
terminus of understanding and proceeds from the 
understanding. Therefore a formal sign is not a 
medium for the understanding itself. Likewise, a con- 
cept does not make a cognition mediate, but imme- 
diate; for we understand the objectified thing in itself 
immediately, albeit we understand by means of a con- 
cept and an awareness. But it is against the rationale 
of a sign to make something known in itself immediate- 
ly; for when we know a thing in a sign, we know it 
less perfectly than if we were to know it in itself im- 
mediately. Therefore, since a formal sign does not do 
away with but rather conduces to the knowing of a 
thing in itself, it does not assume the proper rationale 
of a sign. 

This is confirmed, because we see that a for- 
mal rationale "under which" is not called a sign in 
respect of the objective rationale "which," nor is an 
impressed specifier called a sign, because it is an in- 
trinsic principle of knowing, as we will say below. 
Therefore neither will a formal sign be a sign, because 
it is the very form of an act of knowing, nor does it 
add numerically to an object in order that that object 
be rendered known, and it keeps on the side of an in- 
trinsic terminus of cognition, just as an impressed 
specification keeps on the side of a principle. There- 
fore, either both impressed and expressed specifiers 
will be signs, because they are each representative, or 
both will not be signs, because they are each intrinsic 
forms of awareness and cognition. 

The response to the first part of the argument 23 is 
that the formal sign, which is a concept, has the ra- 
tionale of a terminus of knowledge, but not of a final 
terminus, rather of a terminus ordered to a further ter- 
minus, namely, to the thing which is known and rep- 

quisitioni cognitionis. Addit autem, quod 
communiter signum dici potest quodcum- 
que notum, in quo aliud cognoscitur non 
intelligendo per ly communiter signum im- 

5 proprium, sed communem rationem signi, 
propriam quidem secundum se, sed non 
ita propriam pro nostro modo acquirendi 

SECUNDO ARGUITUR, quia desunt signo 

w formali conditiones requisitae ad signum. 
Nam signum formale non habet rationem 
medii, sed potest habere rationem termini 
cognitionis, et consequenter ipsa cogni- 
tione esse posterius et ab ilia procedere, 

25 ut patet in conceptu seu verbo mentis, 
quod est terminus intellectionis et procedit 
ab ipsa. Ergo non est medium ad ipsam 
intellectionem. Item non facit cognitionem 
mediatam, sed immediatam; rem enim 

20 obiectam immediate intelligimus in se, 
etiamsi mediante conceptu et notitia in- 
telligamus. Est autem contra rationem 
signi, quod faciat cognitionem rei in se im- 
mediate; quando enim cognoscimus rem 

25 per signum, minus perfecte cognoscimus, 
quam si cognosceremus rem in seipsa im- 
mediate. Ergo cum signum formale non 
tollat, sed magis conducat ad cognoscen- 
dum rem in se, non induit propriam ra- 

30 tionem signi. 

Confirmatur, quia videmus rationem for- 
malem sub qua non dici signum respectu 
rationis obiectivae quae nee speciem im- 
pressam, quia est principium intrinsecum 

35 cognoscendi, ut infra dicemus. Ergo neque 
signum formale erit signum, quia est ipsa 
forma cognoscendi, nee ponit in numero 
cum obiecto, ut reddatur cognitum, et 
tenet se ex parte termini intrinseci cogni- 

40 tionis, sicut species impressa ex parte prin- 
cipii. Ergo vel utrumque erit signum, quia 
repraesentativum est, vel utrumque non 
erit signum, quia intrinseca forma notitiae 
et cognitionis est. 

45 Respondetur ad primam partem argu- 
ment!, 23 quod signum formale, quod est 
conceptus, habet rationem termini cogni- 
tionis, sed non ultimi, ordinati autem ad 
ulteriorem terminum scilicet ad rem, quae 

23 231/9-18. 

232 [698a35-b42] 


resented in that [ordered] terminus. 24 But there is 
nothing antinomic about something's being both a ter- 
minus and a medium, when it is not a final terminus, 
but one respecting and ordered to something outside. 

Nor can it be insisted that because the object 
is not attained according as it is outside, but according 
as it is contained and rendered understandable within 
the concept, therefore the concept is not a medium 
leading to something beyond itself, but one stopping 
in itself. This is answered by distinguishing the antece- 
dent: That the object is not attained according as it is 
outside the concept is true, if the "according as" ex- 
presses the rationale or ground [the intentional mode] 
of the attaining; if it expresses the thing attained, it is 
false, for that thing which is outside is truly attained 
and known, although by the means of an intrinsic 
cognition and concept, and this suffices for the con- 
cept to be a sign or intrinsic means. 

To the other part of the argument 25 the response 
is that it is not necessary for a formal sign to make a 
cognition mediate by the mediation of an object known, 
but by the mediation of a form informing and render- 
ing an object present, as we will explain more at length 
in treating of the word of the mind in the books Con- 
cerning the Soul, q. II. 26 And in the same way we con- 
firm that the formal sign is something leading to its 
significate formally, that is to say, as a form represent- 
ing and uniting an object to a cognitive power, not in- 
strumentally or as a thing objectively cognized first 
[known first as an object], and it is also more known 
formally, not objectively or denominatively. 

To the added proposition 27 that it is of the rationale 
of a sign to make a cognition imperfect and not of the 
thing as it is in itself, the response is that this proposi- 
tion pertains only to the instrumental sign, which 
represents a significate by means of something ex- 
traneous, but not to the sign generally speaking, which 
only expresses something more known in which a less 
known is manifested, as we have often said in con- 
nection with q. 9 of St. Thomas's Disputed Questions 
on Truth, art. 4, reply to obj. 4. 28 And this [general ra- 
tionale] is preserved in the formal sign, which is more 
known than the thing signified by the fact that it for- 
mally renders the signified known and is also the me- 
dium for it formally and representatively, although it 
is not an imperfect and extraneous representation, but 

cognoscitur et in illo termino repraesenta- 
tur. 24 Non est autem inconveniens, quod 
aliquid sit terminus et medium, quando 
non est terminus ultimus, sed respiciens et 

5 ordinatus ad aliquid extra. 

Nee potest instari, quia obiectum prout 
extra non attingitur, sed prout intra con- 
ceptum continetur et redditur intelligibile, 
ergo conceptus non est medium deducens 

w ad aliquid extra se, sed sistens in se. Respon- 
detur distinguendo antecedens: Prout ex- 
tra non attingitur obiectum, si ly prout dicat 
rationem attingendi, verum est; si dicat rern 
attactam, est falsum, est enim res vere at- 

35 tacta et cognita ilia, quae est extra, licet 
media intrinseca cognitione et conceptu, et 
hoc sufficit, ut sit signum seu medium in- 

Ad aliam partem argumenti 25 respondetur, 

20 quod signum formale non est necesse, quod 
faciat cognitionem mediatam mediatione ob- 
iecti cogniti, sed mediatione formae infor- 
mantis et praesens reddentis obiectum, ut 
agendo de verbo mentis latius dicemus in 

25 libris de Anima q. II. 26 Et eodem modo veri- 
ficamus, quod signum formale est manu- 
ductivum ad suum signatum formaliter, id 
est ut forma repraesentans et uniens obiec- 
tum potentiae, non instrumentaliter seu ut 

30 res prius cognita, et etiam est notius for- 
maliter, non obiective aut denominative. 
Quod vero additur 27 esse de ratione sig- 
ni, quod faciat cognitionem imperfectam et 
non rei ut est in se, respondetur id solum 

35 pertinere ad signum instrumentale, quod 
per aliquid extraneum repraesentat signa- 
tum, non vero ad signum communiter dic- 
tum, quod solum dicit aliquid notius, in 
quo manifestatur minus notum, ut ex D. 

40 Thoma saepe diximus quaest. ilia 9. de 
Veritate art. 4. ad 4. 28 Et hoc salvatur in 
signo formali, quod est notius re significata, 
quia formaliter illam reddit notam et est 
medium ad illam etiam formaliter et re- 

45 praesentative, licet non sit imperfecta et ex- 
tranea repraesentatio, sed solum reprae- 

24 See Question 2 below, 250/7-39, and 251/5-13. 

25 231/18-29. 

26 Phil. nat. 4. p. q. 11. art. 2. 

27 231/24-29. 

28 Pa IX. 151 b. 


[698b42-699a47] 233 

only a representation of another than itself, for which 
other it substitutes and to which it is ordered. 

And if you should insist: For the Divine Word 
is excluded from the rationale of sign for this reason 
only, because it represents most perfectly the Divine 
Essence; and similarly the son of Peter, although he is 
an image of Peter, he is yet not a sign, because he per- 
fectly equals Peter's likeness; and God is not a sign of 
creatures, although he represents them, because he rep- 
resents most perfectly. Therefore it is of the rationale 
of a sign to represent imperfectly. The response is that 
the Divine Word is not a sign of God not only because 
he represents most perfectly, but because he is con- 
substantial with and equal to God. And so he is not 
more known nor substituting for nor servile to God, 
much less with respect to creatures, to which the Divine 
Word is not ordered, but rather are creatures ordered 
to him, and therefore creatures are signs of God, signs 
which represent God to us as being themselves more 
known to us. Yet imperfection of the cognition which 
it generates is not of the rationale of a sign, but substitu- 
tion on behalf of the significate which the sign 
represents is. But a man who is the son of his father 
is not more known than the father, but univocally equal, 
and therefore does not take on the rationale of a sign. 

To the confirmation 29 the response is that a formal 
rationale "under which" 30 is not a sign because it does 
not make an object present to a cognitive power, but 
constitutes the object itself in the being of such or such 
a kind of object determinately and specifically; but in 
the rationale of something present to and conjoined 
with a cognitive power, an object is made present 
through a formal sign or through an instrumental sign 
or by something supplying the place of the object. 

But to the added proposition 31 that a formal sign 
does not add numerically to the thing itself signified 
in order [for that significate] to be made known, the 
response is that it is true that a formal sign does not 
add numerically as if there were two things known and 
represented; but it is not true that a formal sign does 
not add numerically as one representing and another 
represented; 32 and so it suffices that there is a sign and 
a signified, even though in intentional or representa- 
tive existence the formal sign is said to make one thing 
with the object, not only as do those things which coin- 
cide in one common rationale, but rather because it 

sentatio alterius a se, pro quo substituit et 
ad quod ordinatur. 

Et si instes: Nam ideo solum excluditur 
a ratione signi Verbum Divinum, quia re- 

5 praesentat perfectissime Divinam Essen- 
tiam; et similiter filius Petri licet sit eius 
imago, sed non signum, quia perfecte adae- 
quat eius similitudinem; et Deus non est 
signum creaturarum, licet illas repraesen- 

w tet, quia perfectissime repraesentat. Ergo 
est de ratione signi imperfecte repraesen- 
tare. Respondetur Verbum Divinum non 
esse signum Dei, non solum quia perfectis- 
sime repraesentat, sed quia est consub- 

15 stantiale et aequale ipsi. Et sic non est 
notius nee substituens pro eo aut deservi- 
ens, multo minus respectu creaturarum, 
ad quas non ordinatur, sed creaturae ad 
ipsum, et ideo creaturae sunt signa Dei, 

20 quae nobis ipsum ut notiora nobis reprae- 
sentant. Non tamen est de ratione signi 
imperfectio cognitionis, quam generat, sed 
substitutio pro signato, quod repraesen- 
tat. Homo autem, qui est filius patris sui, 

25 non est eo notior, sed univoce aequalis, et 
ideo non induit rationem signi. 

Ad conftrmationem 29 respondetur, quod 
ratio formalis sub qua 30 non est signum 
quia non facit praesens obiectum poten- 

30 tiae, sed constituit obiectum ipsum in esse 
talis vel talis obiecti determinate et speci- 
fice; in ratione autem praesentis et con- 
iuncti potentiae,,id fit per signum formale 
vel instrumentale aut aliquo supplente 

35 vices obiecti. 

Quod vero additur 31 signum formale 
non ponere in numero cum ipsa re signata, 
ut reddatur cognita, respondetur non 
ponere in numero quasi duae res cognitae 

40 et repraesentatae, verum est; quasi unum 
repraesentans et alterum repraesentatum, 
negatur; 32 et sic sufficit, ut sit signum et 
signatum, licet in esse intentionali seu re- 
praesentativo dicatur facere unum cum 

45 obiecto, non solum sicut ea, quae conve- 
niunt in una ratione communi, sed potius 

29 231/30-44. 

30 Explained above in Book I, Question 4, 178/8-180/7. 

31 231/35-38. 

32 See above, 228/1-18. 

234 [699a47-700a4] 


totally contains and represents the numerically same be- 
ing that is in another. But this fact itself supposes that 
the representing and the represented are distinct, in such 
a way that one and the same thing never represents itself; 
for this identity cancels the rationale of a sign. 

Finally, to that which is said 33 concerning the im- 
pressed specification or specifying form, namely, that it 
will be a sign just as is an expressed specifier, this will 
be treated in Question 3 below. 34 Suffice it to say for now 
that if the impressed specifier is to be removed from the 
rationale of sign, the reason is that it does not represent 
to cognition, but to a cognitive power in order that a 
cognition might be produced. But an expressed specifier 
represents both to the power and to the cognition, because 
it is a terminus of the cognition and it is also a form 
representing to the very cognition. But of this below. 

Against the second conclusion it is argued 
on the grounds that this division of signs into formal and 
instrumental seems to be neither univocal nor adequate 
nor essential. Therefore. 

The antecedent as regards the first part 
(that the division is not univocal) is proved by the fact 
that this division embraces instrumental signs in their en- 
tire extent, and so includes natural and stipulated in- 
strumental signs, which do not coincide univocally in the 
rationale of sign, since the one is mind-independent, the 
other mind-dependent. 

Similarly, the rationale of means is not found 
univocally in the case of a formal sign and in the case of 
an instrumental sign, but is found in the one with a priori- 
ty of nature over the other, and dependently in the case 
of the exterior sign. 35 Whence St. Thomas says in the 
Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 4, art. 1, reply to obj. Z, 36 
that signification is found by priority of nature in the in- 
terior rather than in the exterior word, therefore not 

The second part of the antecedent (that the 
division into formal and instrumental signs is not ade- 
quate) is proved by the fact that there seem to be some 
signs which are neither formal nor instrumental, and also 
some which can be both at once. An example of the first: 
Certainly a phantasm is that in which the understanding 
knows a singular, and yet a phantasm is not a formal sign, 
since it does not inhere in nor inform the understanding; 
nor is it an instrumental sign, since it does not lead to 
a significate from a preexisting cognition, but immediately 
represents that significate; for the understanding does not 

quia totaliter continet idem numero, quod 
est in alio, et repraesentat illud. Sed hoc 
ipsum supponit, quod distincta sint reprae- 
sentans et repraesentatum, ita ut numquam 

5 idem seipsum repraesentet; haec enim 
identitas evacuat rationem signi. 

Denique ad id, quod dicitur 33 de specie 
impressa, quod erit signum sicut expressa, 
infra tractabitur, quaest. 34 3. Sufficit nunc 

w dicere, quod impressa, si removetur a ra- 
tione signi, ideo est, quia non repraesen- 
tat cognitioni, sed potentiae, ut producatur 
cognitio. Species autem expressa et po- 
tentiae et cognitioni repraesentat, quia 

15 terminus cognitionis est et forma reprae- 
sentans etiam cognitioni ipsi. Sed de hoc 

Contra secundam conclusionem argui- 
tur, quia haec divisio neque videtur uni- 

20 voca neque adaequata neque essentialis. 

Antecedens quoad primam partem probatur, 
quia haec divisio comprehendit instrumen- 
tale signum in tota sua latitudine, et sic 

25 comprehendit instrumentale, naturale et ad 
placitum, quod univoce non convenit in ra- 
tione signi, cum unum sit reale, aliud ra- 

Similiter ratio medii non invenitur uni- 

30 voce in signo formali et instrumentali, sed 
per prius in uno quam in altero, et depen- 
denter in signo exteriori. 35 Unde dicit D. 
Thomas 4. de Veritate art. 1. ad 7., 36 quod 
significatio per prius invenitur in verbo 

35 interiori quam in exteriori, ergo non uni- 

Secunda pars probatur, quia videntur dari 
aliqua signa, quae non sunt f ormalia neque 
instrumentalia, aliqua etiam, quae simul 

40 utrumque esse possunt. Exemplum primi: 
Nam phantasma est id, in quo intellectus 
cognoscit singulare, et tamen neque est 
signum formale, cum non inhaereat nee in- 
formet intellectum; nee est instrumentale, 

45 cum non ex praeexistente cognitione du- 
cat in signatum, sed immediate repraesen- 
tet illud; nee enim intellectus indiget ad 

33 231/40-44. 

34 In the original Latin: "art." 

35 The 1663 Lyons text here adds: "a signo formali interiori" "upon the interior formal sign. 

36 Pa IX. 65 a. 


[700a4-blO] 235 

need first to know the phantasm as a thing known, 
in order to have a knowledge of singulars. Similarly, 
a phantasm of smoke in respect of the understanding 
is not a formal sign of fire, because it does not inform 
the understanding; nor is it an instrumental sign, 
because it is not an effect of the fire itself, as is the 
mind-independent smoke. Likewise, a preliminary or 
"nonultimate " concept is a formal sign in respect of 
a spoken word, and an instrumental sign in respect 
of the thing signified through the spoken word; and 
the concept of a man or of a pure spirit is a formal sign 
for the thinker, yet it is an instrumental sign for the 
one to whom it is vocally expressed. Therefore the 
same thing can be an instrumental and a formal sign. 

Finally, the third part of the antece- 
dent (that the division of signs into formal and in- 
strumental is not essential) is proved by the fact that 
the division into instrumental and formal signs is 
drawn in terms of the order to a power; since indeed 
a formal sign is one that inheres in a cognitive power, 
and an instrumental sign is that which is known. But 
an order to a cognitive power does not pertain to the 
constitution of a sign directly, but indirectly, as we said 
in Book I [esp. Question 3]. Therefore it is not an essen- 
tial division primarily and of itself. 

And the antecedent is confirmed by the 
fact that the same thing cannot be divided by two 
essential divisions not subalternately posited. But the 
division of sign into natural and stipulated is an essen- 
tial division, as will be said below, 37 and is not subor- 
dinated to the division into instrumental and formal 
signs, because the natural sign is also superior to the 
formal and the instrumental sign, and again the in- 
strumental sign divides into the natural and the stipu- 
lated. Therefore these divisions are not essential. 

To the first part of the argument (that the division 
is not univocal) 38 two things can be said: 39 First, that 
in the division of signs into formal and instrumental, 
signs are not divided in their entire extent, but only 
natural signs, because only natural signs are included 
in both members. And although a stipulated sign too 
is instrumental, yet it is not an instrumental sign ac- 
cording as instrumental sign is a member opposed to 
formal sign; for the formal sign is counterposed in this 
division only to a natural instrumental sign. But a 
stipulated sign is a sign extrinsically, as it were, and 
not of itself. But in every division that which is capable 

cognitionem singularium prius cognoscere 
phantasma tamquam rem cognitam. Simi- 
liter phantasma fumi respectu intellectus 
non est formale signum ignis, cum non in- 

5 formet intellectum; nee instrumentale, 
cum non sit effectus ipsius ignis, sicut 
fumus a parte rei. Item conceptus non 
ultimatus est signum formale respectu vo- 
cis, et instrumentale respectu rei signifi- 

w catae per vocem; et conceptus hominis vel 
angeli in ordine ad se est signum formale, 
et in ordine ad ilium, cui loquitur, est in- 
strumentale. Ergo idem potest esse signum 
instrumentale et formale. 

is Tertia denique pars, quod non sit essen- 
tialis divisio, probatur, quia divisio in- 
strumentalis et formalis sumitur per or- 
dinem ad potentiam; siquidem formale 
signum est, quod inhaeret potentiae, in- 

20 strumentale, quod cognoscitur. Ordo au- 
tem ad potentiam non pertinet ad consti- 
tutionem signi directe, sed in obliquo, ut 
diximus quaest. praec. Ergo non est divi- 
sio essentialis primo et per se. 

25 Et confirmatur, quia non potest 
idem dividi duplici divisione essential! non 
subalternatim posita. Sed divisio signi in 
naturale et ad placitum est essentialis, ut 
infra 37 dicetur, et non subordinatur isti di- 

30 visioni in formale et instrumentale, cum 
signum naturale etiam sit superius ad for- 
male et instrumentale, et rursus instru- 
mentale in naturale et ad placitum. Ergo 
istae divisiones non sunt essentiales. 

35 Ad primam partem argument! 38 
dupliciter DICI POTEST. 39 Primo, quod 
in hac divisione non dividitur signum in 
tota sua latitudine, sed solum signum na- 
turale, eo quod solum signum naturale est 

40 capax utriusque membri. Et licet signum 
ad placitum sit etiam instrumentale, non 
tamen est instrumentale, secundum quod 
est membrum oppositum formali; non e- 
nim formale contr